How the firefighters’ strike saga has unfolded

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Almost a year since the first fire strike was held in a dispute over pensions, a West Yorkshire fire chief has called for an end to the dispute.

Dave Walton, assistant chief fire officer of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service says the brigade is caught in the middle of the row and the strikes pose difficulties in finding cover for the whole of the county.

The latest round of strikes by members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) ended on Saturday.

The union claims government plans to raise the retirement age from 55 to 60 are not acceptable and have held a series of strikes since September last year.

The FBU also claims the proposals would mean that if firefighters opted for early retirement, the reduction in their pension would be “unacceptably high.”

Mr Walton said: “We have now come to the end of the latest FBU strike action, which has once again challenged our ability to provide fire cover across the county.

“We would like to record our sincere thanks to those who have been involved in providing the contingency operation, as without them West Yorkshire would have been at more risk than it already was as a consequence of the strike action.

“We continue to find ourselves caught in the middle of what can only be described as an impasse between the FBU and the minister.

“It is now approaching a year since the first industrial action was called on September 25, 2013. As such, we are mindful, as ever, of the disruption but also of the financial cost that comes with industrial action, felt not only by the brigade but also by the West Yorkshire community.

“We implore the minister and union to engage in some meaningful dialogue to bring this situation to an end as soon as possible.”