FIREFIGHTERS will stage two separate strikes next week as part of their long-running dispute with the Government over pensions.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union will stage a 24-hour walkout from 9am on Thursday, June 12 and a seven-hour strike between 10am-5pm on Saturday, June 21.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, accused fire minister, Brandon Lewis, of ‘buried his head in the sand’ over the current dispute, adding: “He must accept that firefighters simply will not give up fighting for their futures — and our fire and rescue service.
“Concerns over these unworkable proposals remain as valid and grave as ever, and the government has ignored all the evidence including its own reports.
“It is as ever a difficult decision for us to take, but the only way for us to resolve this unnecessary and costly dispute is for the government to start listening to reason.”
The decision to strike was made at a meeting of the FBU’s executive council on Wednesday, June 4 after meetings with Mr Lewis reached no agreement.
The two strikes will be the thirteenth and fourteenth over pensions. The first was on Thursday, September 24 last year.
The first of the latest round of walkouts will coincide with the beginning of the World Cup.
The FBU claim the Government is refusing to publish alternative, fully-costed pension proposals that they believe could help end the dispute.
As a result, the FBU argues that firefighters and the public are being ‘kept in the dark’ and an ongoing consultation of the Government’s proposals rendered ‘meaningless’.
The current dispute regards Government plans to increase the amount of pension contributions Firefighters must pay.
The FBU said increasing numbers of its members were considering leaving the pension scheme as a result of its decreasing affordability, posing difficult questions over its sustainability.
Under the Government's proposals, firefighters who are forced to retire before the age of 60 will have half of their pension taken away, according to the FBU.