Firefighters set to take further strike action

The Fire Brigades Union is leading a campaign of strike aaction over an ongoing dispute with the Government over firefighters' pensions.
The Fire Brigades Union is leading a campaign of strike aaction over an ongoing dispute with the Government over firefighters' pensions.

‘Angry’ firefighters are set to strike again in a row with government over pensions.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said it is preparing for further industrial action by members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

A 24-hour strike will begin on Wednesday February 25 from 7am.

Members of the public are being reminded that this means fewer crews will be on duty.

This is part of the ongoing dispute between the Fire Brigades Union and the government over pensions.

The FBU said this latest period of strike action comes after the 2015 firefighters’ pension scheme legislation was voted through by MPs when Westminster fire minister Penny Mordaunt gave a guarantee that firefighters aged 55 who failed a fitness test through no fault of their own would receive a full, unreduced pension or a redeployed role.

This guarantee was subsequently confirmed by Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government.

However when the FBU wrote to all fire authorities asking if they would implement this parliamentary guarantee, it said the responses from the national employers and a number of authorities clearly stated that they would not.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “It is clear that when Penny Mordaunt gave the guarantee in Parliament she would have been aware that no fire authority ever planned to implement the ‘guarantee’.

“In order to win the vote to pass the flawed firefighters pension regulations Penny Mordaunt misled firefighters and Parliament.

“The minister is still writing to firefighters telling them they have the guarantee when she clearly knows that they do not.

“Firefighters are unbelievably angry with the disgraceful actions of this government.

“Since the debate where the guarantee was given, the FBU has written to Penny Mordaunt asking for an explanation and meeting to clear this up once and for all. The fire minister has simply ignored these requests and refused to meet the FBU in order to resolve this dispute.

“Firefighters still face the choice of either being sacked or receiving a severely reduced pension if they fail fitness tests as a result of naturally declining fitness through age. Exactly the opposite of what the minister told Parliament.”

Advice from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service

In order to reduce the number of people who need to call 999 during the strikes, the service said:

- Smoke alarms save lives – fit them properly and test them regularly

- Avoid distractions – whether behind the wheel, out and about or cooking: paying attention helps keeps you safe

- Family and friends might need help – check in on them and share our advice

- Escape routes should be planned and explained to everyone in your home

- If you have a fire get out, stay out and call 999.

- With lifts, if you have an automatic alarm, make sure it is functioning properly, that you know who is in charge of it and you know what to do if it goes off.

- Make sure there are clear instructions inside the lift, just in case it breaks down. Have the lift engineer’s number to hand and check when it was last serviced.