Firefighters in England are to stage a 24-hour strike on 9th December, the Fire Brigades Union has said. It's part of the long-running row between the Government and the union over pensions.
Firefighters in England have walked out on strike for the weekend as their bitter row with the government over pay continues, ahead of several fireworks displays across the country.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union in England left their stations at 6pm yesterday and will not return until 6pm on Tuesday, the evening before Bonfire Night.
Picket lines were mounted outside fire stations, and will continue throughout the next few days.
Fire brigades again launched contingency plans, including hiring contract staff to cover for striking firefighters, but the public were warned to be extra vigilant, especially if they attend a firework event.
The Government has been accused of showing "contempt" for public sector workers amid continued deadlock in the long-running dispute in England.
Firefighters who are over the age of 55 and fail a vital fitness test "face the sack", a union chief warned Good Morning Britain.
Sean Starbuck from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said despite evidence showing 66% of firefighters between 55 and 60 would not be fit enough to rescue people from a burning victim, the government were insisting they work until 60.
Mr Starbuck said today's strike was about getting a fair deal on pensions - which they had already got in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The Government has criticised the looming firefighters strike as they have "one of the best pensions in the public sector", according to one minister.
Fire Minister Brandon Lewis said:
Firefighters will launch a series of strikes throughout the week in their bitter dispute over pensions and the age at which they can retire, their union has said.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union in Wales and England will stage short two hour walkouts from today for eight consecutive days, forcing brigades to implement contingency plans.
The dispute has rumbled on for over a year, as firefighters maintain forcing them to work into their 60s will put the public at risk.
London Fire Brigade urged parents to tell their children about the dangers of hoax calls as the industrial action coincides with school holidays.
The capital's fire commissioner Ron Dobson said: "Hoax calls waste our time and resources, but while the FBU is taking strike action and we only have contingency levels of cover it is even more important that we don't get any hoax calls."
It is very important smokers "dispose of their cigarettes properly" this weekend during a seven hour walk-out by firefighters, the head of London fire brigade has warned.
The capital's fire commissioner, Ron Dobson, said his firefighters would not attend grass fires during the strike unless there was an imminent threat to someone's life or property:
Fire chiefs have warned of the risks of grass fires ahead of further industrial action in a long-running dispute with the Government over pensions.
The public need to be extra vigilant and avoid flicking cigarettes onto dried grass land, which is more likely to be arid because of the recent hot weather.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union in England and Wales will walk out for seven hours from 10am tomorrow in protest at controversial changes to their pensions and retirement age.
The London fire brigade has already said it will not put not grass fires during the walk-out unless there is an immediate risk to life or property.
As firefighters across England and Wales prepare to stage a 24-hour walk-out, a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said that a solution can be reached "but not under the shadow of industrial action."
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said:
From 9am today, firefighters across England and Wales will stage a 24-hour strike today in their long-running dispute with the Government over pensions.
Another strike will be held on June 22 as their dispute over pension reforms and retirement age remains deadlocked.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack accused the Government of refusing to negotiate, adding that firefighters were determined to continue with their campaign.
Firefighters have been warned by the union that they face significant pensions cuts and working until later in life before retiring.