Firefighters in Northamptonshire vote to go on 24-hour strike over changes to pensions

Firefighters protest outside County Hall in Northamptonshire
Firefighters protest outside County Hall in Northamptonshire

Firefighters in Northamptonshire will be taking part in further strike action later this month as part of the nationwide campaign against changes being brought in by the Government.

The Fire Brigades Union announced there would be 24-hour strike from 9am on Thursday June 12. This is the longest period of strike action during what has been a three-year campaign. There will be another strike between 10am and 5pm on Saturday June 21.

A statement said members of the union had also voted “to not carry out any voluntary overtime or conduct trianing of strikebreakers between the beginning of the first strike and 9am on Sunday June 22”.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: “The minister has decided to bury his head in the sand, but 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 it’s 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 4 June.

A spokesman for the union said: “Before 2010, firefighters already contributed one of the highest proportions of their salary towards their pensions (11 percent), and in April this increased for the third year running. Firefighters typically now pay over £4,000 a year from a £29,000 salary, and the government has announced they will impose another increase in 2015.

“The FBU says increasing numbers of members are 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 as a result of ageing will have half of their pension taken away.”

The two strikes will be the 13th and 14th over pensions.