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Firefighters set for more strikes

MORE STRIKES ... firefighters are staging more strike days.

MORE STRIKES ... firefighters are staging more strike days.

SOUTH Tyneside’s firefighters are gearing up for more strikes in a row over pensions.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union have revealed further dates for industrial action.

It will see firefighters based at South Shields and Hebburn strike between noon and 5pm on Friday, May 2.

Further dates for industrial action will take place between 2pm and 2am on Saturday, May 3, and between 10am and 3pm on Sunday, May 4.

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

The row over pensions has been ongoing between the union and the Department for Communities and Local Government for the past three years.

Since the last strike on January 3, the two have been working on financial, technical and legal issues. However, after the Government failed to offer any new proposals an vote to strike was taken.

Although during negotiations the Westminster fire minister, Brandon Lewis, assured firefighters that he would seek to address the threat of firefighters being sacked merely for getting older, there has been no change in the government’s position.

The strikes which kicked off last year are in a row with the Government over pensions and the age at which a firefighter can retire.

Ministers want firefighters to work until the age of 60 before they can claim a pension – a move union officials say will put at risk the lives of the emergency service workers and the public.

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.”

 

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