Firefighters to stage latest strike in bitter pension dispute

St Helens Star: Firefighters on the picket line in St Helens Firefighters on the picket line in St Helens

FIREFIGHTERS have threatened to continue their strike action until the government “negotiates a solution” to the pension dispute.

They will go on strike later today (Friday, December 13) and Saturday (December 14) from 6pm to 10 pm over claims that they are will be forced to pay thousands of pounds more into their pensions.

Matt Wrack Fire Brigade Union General Secretary explained: “It’s now been almost two months since the government has been willing to meet us for negotiations despite several invitations from us.

“Until they do and until they start to actually resolve the dispute, we’ll keep up the pressure for the sake of public safety and our members’ pensions.

“In a week when the full details of a £7,600 pay rise for MPs’ which will also increase their pensions emerged, firefighters’ anger at the governments unworkable, unaffordable and unfair proposals will be even greater.

“No firefighter wants to strike but we cannot allow the government’s ludicrous proposals and outright hypocrisy to stand. We’ll keep on fighting until the government sees sense and comes back to negotiations.”

The FBU says that most firefighters take home approximately £1,650 a month and already pay £320 or more a month into their pensions.

From April 2014 this will rise for the third year in a row to over £340 a month (£4,000 a year).

Many firefighters also face a fourth consecutive rise of 2.2 per cent expected in 2015.

The union argues that on top of this a large section of firefighters face an additional threat to their pensions as a result of the government refusing to honour long-standing agreements. As a result, they will not receive the pension they were promised despite paying into their scheme for many years.

The FBU claims that the scheme is one of the most expensive for workers anywhere in the public or private sector.

Contrary to government claims, it is also one of the least generous because employers pay one of the lowest proportions of pension costs compared to other public service employers.

The union has also said that the expensive pension proposals are designed to fail because they ignore the physical demands and fitness standards required by the firefighters’ occupation.

Evidence suggests that at least two thirds of the current workforce would be unable to maintain the fitness standards required by the fire service beyond the age of 55.

Such firefighters would face the prospect of being dismissed or seeing their pension reduced by almost half.

Comments (12)

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9:27am Fri 13 Dec 13

Sankey says...

Beyond parody

Just privatise the fire service nothing more to be said an underworked over superannuated bunch who have completely lost touch with all reality
Beyond parody Just privatise the fire service nothing more to be said an underworked over superannuated bunch who have completely lost touch with all reality Sankey

12:38pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Keva68 says...

In the last few years I have had my final salary pension taken off me and have just been told I need to work until 68.I am not striking I just have to deal with it.Get back to work and stop expecting the hard working tax payers in the private sector to pay for your early pension.
In the last few years I have had my final salary pension taken off me and have just been told I need to work until 68.I am not striking I just have to deal with it.Get back to work and stop expecting the hard working tax payers in the private sector to pay for your early pension. Keva68

1:58pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Sankey says...

German firefighters retire at 62 as most other countries in the developed world the fitness issues only apply in the UK it seems. They are also grossly underworked and have plenty time to recover from their exertions the fire service is essentially the same as it was in the 1950,s yet fires have halved. Yes they do work in car accidents etc and this should be e extended to further integration with the police and amulance service. 60 is still too young for them to retire never mind 55. They have got away with murder for years but in these hard times reality has to come knocking in the firefighters door just as it does for the rest of the country.
German firefighters retire at 62 as most other countries in the developed world the fitness issues only apply in the UK it seems. They are also grossly underworked and have plenty time to recover from their exertions the fire service is essentially the same as it was in the 1950,s yet fires have halved. Yes they do work in car accidents etc and this should be e extended to further integration with the police and amulance service. 60 is still too young for them to retire never mind 55. They have got away with murder for years but in these hard times reality has to come knocking in the firefighters door just as it does for the rest of the country. Sankey

9:49am Sat 14 Dec 13

Bill Bradbury says...

No surprises in these comments from the prime haters of public sector workers. Keva pensions are paid for by those also in the public sector-it was ever so that current workers pay for those who have retired.
To lighten it up a little and prove my point I was walking with a colleague in Manchester about 15 years ago one Saturday night and I commented on the loutish behaviour of some youths to which he commented "It gets worse Bill you will have to rely on them to pay your pension". It certainly sobered me up!
No surprises in these comments from the prime haters of public sector workers. Keva pensions are paid for by those also in the public sector-it was ever so that current workers pay for those who have retired. To lighten it up a little and prove my point I was walking with a colleague in Manchester about 15 years ago one Saturday night and I commented on the loutish behaviour of some youths to which he commented "It gets worse Bill you will have to rely on them to pay your pension". It certainly sobered me up! Bill Bradbury

10:18am Sat 14 Dec 13

Sankey says...

Pensions are the biggest injustice in Britain with the public sector effectively being the only area where you get a pension. The vast majority of people work in the private sector who pay for the few in the public sector. In normal circumstances socialists would be against this gross injustice however as most of them (f not all) work in the public sector themselves this is one cause they won't be getting the banners out for.

But even by public sector standards the fire service pension is over generous and the retirement age for our fire fighters is a good five years earlier than the whole of the developed world. They are also grossly underworked.
Pensions are the biggest injustice in Britain with the public sector effectively being the only area where you get a pension. The vast majority of people work in the private sector who pay for the few in the public sector. In normal circumstances socialists would be against this gross injustice however as most of them (f not all) work in the public sector themselves this is one cause they won't be getting the banners out for. But even by public sector standards the fire service pension is over generous and the retirement age for our fire fighters is a good five years earlier than the whole of the developed world. They are also grossly underworked. Sankey

1:48pm Sat 14 Dec 13

Bill Bradbury says...

Sankey "Grossly underworked!" Thank God if it was true. It is when they are overworking that we will need them!!?? Station closures, cuts in equipment and their conditions and pensions, I expect them to fight for what they have or perhaps if it were you you would just roll over? I have written before you are a "bosses man" probably touched your forelock everytime you met? If somebody has a good pension good luck to them and I thought my Labour party was often accused as being the "party of envy". More "race to the bottom" comments which apes the right wing Tory press, which of course you don't read.
Sankey "Grossly underworked!" Thank God if it was true. It is when they are overworking that we will need them!!?? Station closures, cuts in equipment and their conditions and pensions, I expect them to fight for what they have or perhaps if it were you you would just roll over? I have written before you are a "bosses man" probably touched your forelock everytime you met? If somebody has a good pension good luck to them and I thought my Labour party was often accused as being the "party of envy". More "race to the bottom" comments which apes the right wing Tory press, which of course you don't read. Bill Bradbury

2:59pm Sat 14 Dec 13

Keva68 says...

It's not a matter of fighting for what they have Bill it's about excepting the reality of the current economic climate.
The firefighters also should have no right to strike as far as I see it they are willing to put peoples lives in danger between 6pm and 10pm.
But as the firefighters seem a long lost relic of the bad old militant days of this country they will probably carry on striking.Eventually forcing our overworked armed forces returning from from war zones to give up leave to stand in for them as they have many times in the past.
The answer is simple for them if they don't like the working conditions they have leave and find another career.
It's not a matter of fighting for what they have Bill it's about excepting the reality of the current economic climate. The firefighters also should have no right to strike as far as I see it they are willing to put peoples lives in danger between 6pm and 10pm. But as the firefighters seem a long lost relic of the bad old militant days of this country they will probably carry on striking.Eventually forcing our overworked armed forces returning from from war zones to give up leave to stand in for them as they have many times in the past. The answer is simple for them if they don't like the working conditions they have leave and find another career. Keva68

3:24pm Sat 14 Dec 13

Sankey says...

Economic reality is not a concept over familar to Mr Bradbury he is still living in 1972 us and them.

Except in 2013 its the cosseted public sector that is the "Them"

Millions of workers with no pension to speak of paying more into public sectors workers pensions than their own. For millions the state pension is all they can look forward to and that goalpost will be moved ever forward. Yet here we are being asked to support a bunch of public sector workers who think its their entitlement to retire at 55. For a private sector pension to provide that you would need a pot of about £2m.
Economic reality is not a concept over familar to Mr Bradbury he is still living in 1972 us and them. Except in 2013 its the cosseted public sector that is the "Them" Millions of workers with no pension to speak of paying more into public sectors workers pensions than their own. For millions the state pension is all they can look forward to and that goalpost will be moved ever forward. Yet here we are being asked to support a bunch of public sector workers who think its their entitlement to retire at 55. For a private sector pension to provide that you would need a pot of about £2m. Sankey

3:51pm Sun 15 Dec 13

Bill Bradbury says...

"Millions of workers without a pension" is because they did not contribute to any scheme in hoiuse or Free standing. Public services contributed at least 6% of their salary (more now) for over 40 years and Governmnet refused to make ir a "real" fund rather than a notional (promisory one) as I would be a lot better off as a result.
As I often write Sankey -you subscribe to the "equality of misery" theory.
As to the current economic situation don't you believe it as one comment on this site a few weeks ago mentioned the number of cars and people shopping. We are all in this togeher? tells that to the bankers, the speculators and the front row Tory Millionaires. The "economy" to all families is the ever increasing bills, wage cuts/freezes and redundancies in ever increasing numbers much blamed on the other myth to rip us all off --global warming.
"Millions of workers without a pension" is because they did not contribute to any scheme in hoiuse or Free standing. Public services contributed at least 6% of their salary (more now) for over 40 years and Governmnet refused to make ir a "real" fund rather than a notional (promisory one) as I would be a lot better off as a result. As I often write Sankey -you subscribe to the "equality of misery" theory. As to the current economic situation don't you believe it as one comment on this site a few weeks ago mentioned the number of cars and people shopping. We are all in this togeher? tells that to the bankers, the speculators and the front row Tory Millionaires. The "economy" to all families is the ever increasing bills, wage cuts/freezes and redundancies in ever increasing numbers much blamed on the other myth to rip us all off --global warming. Bill Bradbury

5:03pm Sun 15 Dec 13

Sankey says...

Of course they contributed bill but brown decimated the schemes. As for the public sector employees contributions any one who believes that even remotely funds the schemes is a sandwich short of a picnic.

Almost all the cost is met by the taxpayer
Of course they contributed bill but brown decimated the schemes. As for the public sector employees contributions any one who believes that even remotely funds the schemes is a sandwich short of a picnic. Almost all the cost is met by the taxpayer Sankey

8:44pm Sun 15 Dec 13

Keva68 says...

I still don't see why they should have the right to a pension at 55 ,most of them will supplement it with another job anyway not many actually finish working at 55.
But again they are willing to put the public's lives at risk by striking for there own greedy out of touch demands.

Quote Matt Wrack Fbu
“Until they do and until they start to actually resolve the dispute, we’ll keep up the pressure for the sake of public safety and our members’ pensions"

Does public safety include standing outside your fire stations with your hands in your pockets whilst peoples homes businesses and lives are at risk.
Also sick of hearing the lame excuse of the physical nature of the job as well ,as if the rest of us will be sitting in front of a desk until we are 68.
I still don't see why they should have the right to a pension at 55 ,most of them will supplement it with another job anyway not many actually finish working at 55. But again they are willing to put the public's lives at risk by striking for there own greedy out of touch demands. Quote Matt Wrack Fbu “Until they do and until they start to actually resolve the dispute, we’ll keep up the pressure for the sake of public safety and our members’ pensions" Does public safety include standing outside your fire stations with your hands in your pockets whilst peoples homes businesses and lives are at risk. Also sick of hearing the lame excuse of the physical nature of the job as well ,as if the rest of us will be sitting in front of a desk until we are 68. Keva68

8:49pm Sun 15 Dec 13

Sankey says...

Almost every fire service in the world retires at 62 or above. Maybe they eat more weetabix
Almost every fire service in the world retires at 62 or above. Maybe they eat more weetabix Sankey

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