Fire union calls more strikes

Birkenshaw Fire Service HQ. Firemen training. Nikki Patel (Dev's daughter from Coronation Street) taking part in the drills to promote the annual fire service awards. (09050955)
Birkenshaw Fire Service HQ. Firemen training. Nikki Patel (Dev's daughter from Coronation Street) taking part in the drills to promote the annual fire service awards. (09050955)

Firefighters have announced two further strike dates next month as a bitter row over pensions rumbles on.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) have announced that walkouts will take place across the country on Friday, November 1 between 6.30pm and 11pm and then on Monday, November 4 between 6am and 8am.

Union members held a four-hour strike on September 25 in protest at firefighters being made to work until they are 60.

A second strike was called off earlier this month after progress was made during talks.

The FBU said the government and fire employers had failed to offer any firm guarantees on jobs or pensions as a result of changes to the pension age from 55 to 60.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “The government has created this mess, but it is refusing to clear it up.

“It now recognises the problem but it won’t provide the legal and financial guarantees firefighters need to ensure they have a job and an unreduced pension in the future”

Simon Pilling, chief fire officer for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said it was “disappointing” that further strikes has been announced.

He said: “We are conscious that these next two periods of strike action will take place during the busy firework, bonfire and Diwali period.

“With this in mind, we are asking members of the public to be extra vigilant and careful as a reduced level of emergency response will be inevitable.

“We have contingency plans which will provide an effective, but reduced, service during the period of strike action.”