Firefighters to strike over pension dispute
7:01pm Monday 23rd September 2013 in News
FIREFIGHTERS in Haverfordwest will be among those firing a “warning shot to the government”, as they take part in county-wide strikes on Wednesday (September 25).
After a majority vote for industrial action earlier this month, Fire Brigades Union (FBU) members across England and Wales will strike between noon and 4pm.
As well as concerns over increasing pension contributions, FBU members are worried older fire-fighters who fail to meet required fitness levels will lose their jobs and miss out on pension support.
The FBU said: “Although the government has previously claimed that older fire-fighters could be moved to less physically demanding roles, FBU research found only a handful of ‘redeployment’ opportunities in fire and rescue services, meaning mass sackings would be inevitable.”
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said the strike was “a warning shot to government”.
“It is ludicrous to expect firefighters to fight fires and rescue families in their late 50s: the lives of the general public and firefighters themselves will be endangered.
“None of us want a strike, but we cannot compromise on public and firefighter safety.”
Barrie Davies, mid and west Wales brigade secretary for the FBU, said the union’s fight was with central government, not the fire service, adding that the service had been “very supportive through this difficult time”.
However, members of the fire service’s other union, the Retained Firefighters’ Union (RFU), will not be joining colleagues in the strike action.
Explaining his union’s position, RFU mid and west Wales secretary Adrian Hughes said: “The FBU are in a very difficult position, and we have a lot of sympathy for them, but we feel protecting our community is of paramount importance.”
The Western Telegraph understands that strikes will take place across Pembrokeshire, with the exception of Crymych, Fishguard, Cardigan and Whitland stations.
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