JARROW MP Stephen Hepburn has slammed the Government’s plans to make firefighters work until they are 60 and to increase their pension contributions.
Although more than 200 Labour MPs including the Jarrow MP voted against the changes in Parliament – the proposals were forced through by Tory and Lib Dem MPs by 313 votes to 261.
Mr Hepburn said that the Government’s attempts to increase the retirement age of firefighters assume dangerously low fitness standards, endanger their lives and public safety as well as spark further strikes.
He said: “Our firefighters have a special place in society. Firefighters paid large amounts into their pension pots on the assumption that they will retire at 55 and yet the Government is trying to increase that unilaterally.”
“Firefighting is a very physical job. We need to make sure that the thin red line is fit. The Government’s own expert evidence admits that.”
many firefighters would be unable to deal with emergencies thanks to the natural ageing process. Firefighters who fail to meet these standards should be treated well.”