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Fire crews to strike over Christmas

25 Sept 2013.....Firefighters at Wakefield Fire Station take part in a strike over pensions. Phil Baker ( Wfd Branch Rep. FBU)

25 Sept 2013.....Firefighters at Wakefield Fire Station take part in a strike over pensions. Phil Baker ( Wfd Branch Rep. FBU)

Firefighters will walk out on strike twice over the Christmas period as a bitter dispute with the government over pensions rumbles on.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will walk out at 7pm until midnight on Tuesday, December 24.

They will also strike on Tuesday, December 31, from 6.30pm, until 12.30am on New Year’s Day.

A further strike has been planned to take place between 6.30am and 8.30am on Friday, January 3.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Firefighters provide a first-class standard of service 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, and these strikes will remind government just how reliant they are on our members’ professionalism, commitment and flexibility.

“However, there should be no need for industrial action, and it’s absurd that firefighters’ concerns over pensions have not been addressed already.

“The government must stop claiming they are negotiating when they have refused to talk for two months and insist on forcing through proposals that are unaffordable, unworkable and unfair.”

FBU members have also voted to withdraw their goodwill and members working in control centres have refused to work voluntary overtime between 7pm on Friday, December 27, and 7pm on Sunday, December 29.

The government wants to raise firefighters’ retirement age from 55 to 60 and raise the amount they contribute to their pensions.

Mr Wrack added: “By simply conceding common sense and allowing firefighters a fair deal, the government could end this industrial action today.”

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority has urged people to be extra cautious.

Dave Walton, assistant chief officer, said: “We don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun but we hope the public can help us by helping themselves.”

 

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