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Firefighters resume strike action in pensions dispute

Firefighters across Wales are to join their colleagues in England and Scotland later in the latest of a series of strikes over the bank holiday weekend.

In England and Wales, firefighters will go on strike between 2pm and 2am.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) called the strike as the on-going dispute with the UK Government over pensions continues.

Welsh firefighters walk out in pensions dispute

Firefighters in Wales walked out at midday in a five-hour strike.

Firefighters in Cardiff this morning Credit: Tom Sheldrick/ITV News

Along with colleagues in England, they are in a long-running dispute over pensions. The UK Government says it has met union leaders on many occasions and there is 'ongoing communication' to find a solution.

Fire strike action 'unnecessary' says minister

Fire Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, says the government is offering firefighters "one of the most generous pension schemes in all the public sector."

By calling unnecessary strike action, the FBU has shown it is not serious about finding a resolution to this dispute for its members and stands only to further damage firefighters’ standing with the public.

The government has met with the FBU on many occasions, most recently during April, and has remained in ongoing communication to find a solution.

The deal on the table gives firefighters one of the most generous pension schemes in all the public sector, and the proposals protect the earned rights of a higher proportion of members than any other public sector scheme. Nearly half will see no change and even firefighters who are not protected will see no change until 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. An equivalent private pension pot would be worth over half a million pounds and require firefighters to contribute twice as much.

– Brandon Lewis MP, Fire Minister

UK Govt 'burying its head in the sand' says fire union

The UK Government has been accused of "burying its head in the sand" in the ongoing pensions dispute with the Fire Brigades Union.

Firefighters in Wales are joining their colleagues in England and Scotland later in the latest strike action over the row.

After three years of negotiations and an intense four months presenting an indisputable, evidence-based case for the need to ensure a pension scheme that takes into account the unique occupation of firefighting, the government is still burying its head in the sand.

Several members of government were only too keen to praise firefighters during the winter floods, but their words amount to nothing when they simultaneously ignore issues that threaten the future of firefighters and their families.

Nevertheless, we remain totally committed to resolving the dispute through negotiation, and are ready to meet to consider a workable proposal as soon as possible.

– Matt Wrack, FBU General Secretary