Firefighters confirm strike action

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Firefighters will stage the first nationwide walkout for more than a year in a dispute over pensions, union bosses have confirmed.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) voted almost four to one, a majority of 78 per cent, in favour of industrial action in a ballot which ended earlier this month.

Union members will go on strike for four hours on Wednesday, September 25 from noon to 4pm and if an agreement cannot be reached further industrial action is likely.

Under government plans, firefighters in England will get their full pension at 60 but the union says many firefighters will not be able to maintain fitness standards into their late 50s and this will endanger the public.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “This initial strike is a warning shot to the government. Firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions.

“Governments in Westminster and Cardiff have simply refused to see sense on these issues.

“It is ludicrous to expect firefighters in their late 50s to fight fires and rescue families - the lives of the general public and firefighters themselves will be endangered.”

In a statement a West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson urged the public to be extra vigilant on Wednesday.

It added: “West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will not be able to provide its normal emergency response capability or capacity during periods of strike action.

“The service will provide as effective a service as possible during periods of industrial action but everyone must play their part in preventing fires and other emergency incidents taking part.”

Brandon Lewis, fire minister said the decision by the FBU to take strike action is completely unnecessary and avoidable.