Firefighters to walk out during eight days of strike action in on-going pensions row

Library picture
Library picture

Firefighters in Northamptonshire will be joining colleagues across the country in eight days of strike action later this month as part of their on-going dispute over pensions.

The Fire Brigades Union announced the action on Friday and described the changes as “unacceptable, unworkable, unrealistic and nothing short of a vicious attack on firefighters’ pensions”.

Strike action will start on Monday July 14 between 6am and 8am and then 5pm and 7pm. Firefighters will down tools during the same times for the next three days before striking between 6am and 8am on Friday then between 11pm and 1am that evening. Saturday will see industrial action from 11am–1pm and from 11pm to 1am the next day. The last walkouts will be between 5pm and 7pm on Sunday, and 6am to 8am and 5pm to 7pm on Monday.

The Fire Brigades Union say the changes to pensions would see members paying more, working longer and receiving less. The Government disagrees, saying the proposal is fair and is one of the “best pension deals” in the public sector.

Speaking today, Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “The Government must realise that firefighters cannot accept proposals that would have such devastating consequences for their futures, their families’ futures — and the future of the fire and rescue service itself.

“We have tried every route available to us to make the Government see sense over their attacks.

“Three years of negotiations have come to nothing because the government is simply unwilling to compromise or even listen to reason despite a huge amount of evidence showing their planned scheme is unworkable.

“Shorter strike periods have illustrated the strength of feeling amongst firefighters whilst limiting disruption to the fire service, the public and our members’ working lives.

“But the government is merely ploughing ahead, forcing firefighters to react.”

Previously, Fire minister Brandon Lewis said public safety would “remain the primary focus”.

He added: “The Government believes a solution can be reached, but not under the shadow of industrial action, which only serves to damage firefighters’ good standing with the public. By calling more strikes during an open consultation the FBU leadership has once again shown it is not serious about finding a resolution.

“The deal on the table is fair and gives firefighters one of the most generous pensions in the public sector. Additionally the proposals protect the earned rights of a higher proportion of members than any other public sector scheme. Nearly three quarters will see no change in their pension age in 2015.”

Firefighters are due to walk out on Thursday July 10, alongside other public sector union workers.

Strike times

Monday 14 July: 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm

Tuesday 15 July: 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm

Wednesday 16 July: 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm

Thursday 17 July: 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm

Friday 18 July: 6am–8am and 11pm–1am on Saturday 19 July

Saturday 19 July: 11am–1pm and 11pm–1am on Sunday 20 July

Sunday 20 July: 5pm–7pm

Monday 21 July: 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm