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Firefighters Announce Strike Action Over Pensions Row

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Thursday, Apr 24th, 2014.

Firefighters across the country will take part in further industrial action over pensions next month.

The Fire Brigades Union today announced that firefighters in Wales will take part in the nationwide strike in May.

English and Welsh firefighters will strike on:

– Friday 2 May, between noon and 5pm
– Saturday 3 May, between 2pm and 2am
– Sunday 4 May, between 10am and 3pm.

There will also be a ban on voluntary overtime across England and Wales from 3pm on Sunday 4 May until noon on Friday 9 May.

Negotiations between the FBU and the Department for Communities and Local Government have been taking place for three years, and since the last strike on 3 January 2014, both the union and government have undertaken work examining financial, technical and legal issues.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “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.”

Following the last meeting of the union’s executive council on 9 and 10 April, the union wrote to the minister saying that if they hadn’t received any proposals by 24 April, they would conclude that the government was unwilling or unable to offer any improvement.

In a letter dated 23 April, the Westminster fire minister, Brandon Lewis, commended the way in which the union had engaged with government on several fronts, but did not present any new proposals.

As a result, at a meeting on Thursday 24 April the union’s executive council unanimously decided to take further industrial action.

At a recent meeting Treasury officials confirmed that that there is no central government obstacle to new proposals from the DCLG.

While negotiations were continuing, the government imposed a third annual increase in firefighters’ pension contributions, taking them to 14.2% for most firefighters and issued proposals for a fourth year increase for many.

In August last year, firefighters voted by 78% for strike action.

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