Firefighters in England begin 24 hours of strike action tomorrow morning from 7am as part of their long running dispute over pensions. The strike coincides with a protest over a sham pension ‘guarantee’ that was given by Government in a parliamentary debate and vote last December.
The debate and vote on the 2015 firefighters’ pension scheme was heavily influenced when the minister said firefighters aged 55 who failed a fitness test through no fault of their own would receive a full, unreduced pension.
However the national employers and local fire authorities confirmed in writing that they would not be implementing any sort of guarantee. In fact the biggest single English fire service employer confirmed it had written to government only days before it made the guarantee stating it would not be able to deliver it. The government’s fire minister, Penny Mordaunt, has refused three written requests to meet the FBU to discuss this ‘guarantee’. Now the union has called upon David Cameron to explain why he is allowing his ministers to mislead MPs, the public and firefighters.
Firefighters will hold a protest at Methodist Central Hall, Storey’s Gate, London, SW1 9NH from 12:30pm.
A spokesperson from Hampshire Fire and Rescue said, “Firefighters are not obliged to say if they intend to strike or not, so we are unable to provide figures on how many will, however in cases like this, we do see around 50% of our fighfighters taking strike action.
“Hampshire is fortunate to have a good bank of retained firefighters, so unlike other counties, we do have a contingency plan and do have enough cover for the strike tomorrow.”