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Govt: Firefighters have 'one of the best pensions'

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 still have one of the best pensions in the public sector.

New principles on fitness are already on the table with our backing and following a formal public consultation we have decided to make small changes to the scheme which allow us to improve the pension offer for firefighters who retire at age 55 or 56 so they are fairly rewarded, while those who work longer will rightly benefit for doing so.

– Brandon Lewis

Firefighters walk out over pensions and retirement age

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.

Firefighters on strike outside Soho fire station in London during the last walk out in June. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

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."

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Very important smokers 'dispose of cigarettes properly'

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:

A small spark from a cigarette is often all it takes to start a grass fire in these dry conditions so it really is important that smokers dispose of their cigarettes properly.

Drivers also need to take care not to throw cigarettes out of car windows as they can easily burn grass verges.

People barbecuing on open land should also make sure that they extinguish them properly when finished with.

There is contingency cover during the strike but it isn't a replacement for a normal service.

– Ron Dobson

Fire chiefs warn over grass fires ahead of walk-out

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.

Firefighters have urged the public to be extra careful when extinguishing cigarettes. Credit: PA

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.

Firefighters' deal 'one of most generous in public sector'

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."

The deal on the table is fair and gives firefighters one of the most generous pensions in the public sector.

Additionally, the proposals protect the earned rights of a higher proportion of members than any other public sector scheme.

Nearly three-quarters will see no change in their pension age in 2015.

Under the new scheme, a firefighter who earns £29,000 will still be able to retire after a full career aged 60, get a £19,000-a-year pension, rising to £26,000 with the state pension.

The equivalent private pension pot would be worth over half a million pounds and require firefighters to contribute twice as much.

– A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government

Firefighters 'won't have strength to save people at 60'

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said:

It is regrettable that the Government is still not listening to its own advice or the concerns of firefighters, and is set on imposing these ill-thought out pension changes.

Firefighters do incredibly dangerous and demanding jobs. The public - which has nothing but the utmost respect for our emergency services - will be at a loss to understand why ministers think that at 60 firefighters will still have the necessary strength and stamina to rescue people from burning buildings.

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Firefighters strike for 24 hours over pensions

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.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union in England and Wales will stop work from 9am in the first 24-hour stoppage of their campaign. Credit: PA

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.

Firefighters to stage 12-hour strike today over pensions

Firefighters will stage a 12-hour strike today in the latest of a weekend of action over a long-running dispute with the Government over pensions.

Euston fire station in London where firefighters staged a five hour strike in a row over pensions yesterday. Credit: PA

Members of the Fire Brigades Union in England and Wales will strike between 2pm today and 2am tomorrow, and between 10am and 3pm tomorrow.

FBU members walked out for five hours yesterday, forcing fire authorities to make alternative arrangements for fire cover.

The Government denied union claims that ministers had drawn up alternative proposals six weeks ago, but had been "sitting" on them ever since.

Fire Brigade advice during strike action

London Fire Brigade has issued advice to households to protect themselves during the Bank Holiday firefighters' strike.

  • Check your smoke alarm to make sure it works.
  • Take extra care when you are cooking or smoking.
  • Plan your escape route
  • Only dial 999 in a genuine emergency, for example a fire not a pet rescue.
  • Share fire safety tips – talk to friends and family (visit the Brigade's website for advice).

Strike 'damages firefighters' standing with the public'

The decision to take industrial action will "damage firefighters' standing with the public", a Government spokesman has said.

The Department for Communities and Local Government, which is responsible for the fire service, said in a statement:

"The Government is clear that further change can be made through constructive engagement, but not under the shadow of industrial action, which only serves to damage firefighters' standing with the public,"

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