9:33am Wednesday 7th May 2014
By Kate Wilson
FOLLOWING a weekend of strikes, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has called on the UK Government to “honour current pension promises” and avoid further industrial action.
FBU members in Gloucestershire were among firefighters across England and Wales to strike over the bank holiday weekend in protest at the government’s plans for pension reform.
Dozens of firefighters across the county took part in the strike which began on Friday from noon until 5pm and continued between 2pm and 2am on Saturday and from 10am to 3pm on Sunday.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Yet again firefighters have shown the strength of their anger over government attacks on their pensions and have been united in standing up for a fair, workable and affordable deal.
“It’s very disappointing that we’ve been forced to hold another three days of strikes, but nothing will deflect firefighters’ resolve when the future of their families and the fire and rescue service itself is at stake.
“Just like the current bout of industrial action, future strikes could be avoided simply by the government honouring current pension promises and releasing [the details of] proposals for the future – proposals that reflect the discussions we’ve held over the last three years and take account of the evidence we have presented about our occupation.
“Surely it’s now time for their games to stop and common sense to prevail.”
The FBU has several concerns over the government’s pensions reform proposals including the amount firefighters would be expected to pay in employee contributions and the protection around existing pensions.
A spokesman for the department of communities and local government said: “This weekend’s unnecessary strike action shows the FBU is not serious about finding a resolution to this dispute for its members and will only serve to damage firefighters’ standing with the public.
“The deal on the table gives firefighters one of the most generous pension schemes in the whole public sector.”
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