Two days of strike action by fire crews

Swindon Advertiser: Firefighters from Drove fire station at last month’s strike and ready for another walk out Firefighters from Drove fire station at last month’s strike and ready for another walk out

FIREFIGHTERS across Swindon will be walking out next Friday and Saturday in the latest round of strike action.

The Fire Brigade Union is in dispute with the Government and employers on plans to increase the retirement age.

They are also not happy about plans to increase pension contributions.

The two strikes will both start at 6pm and last until 10pm. While the exact numbers taking action are not known, previous walkouts have led to the closure of Drove Road, Stratton and Westlea fire stations, with cover being provided by retained fire crews.

These will be the fifth and sixth strikes during the disagreement, with the most recent taking place on November 13, but union officials say if the Government will sit down for meaningful talks the strikes could still be called off.

Brent Thorley, secretary for the South West, said: “We know walking out affects the public and it is the last thing we want to do.

“At the moment there appears to be a stalemate with both sides digging in but if the Government is prepared to sit down for serious discussions then we will call the strike off straight away.

“This is a dispute that has been going on for some time now and unfortunately there appears to be no movement from the Govern-ment.”

Members of the FBU have been balloted about taking action short of a strike, which could involve working to rule or not taking part in drills.

Within the South West region the result was overwhelmingly in favour of taking this route, with almost 16,000 of the 18,500 voting yes.

Brent said: “Everyone knows that walking out affects the public and no-one wants to do it.

“By taking other forms of action we can get our point across and force management to talk while still providing cover to the public.”

The Government has proposed raising the retirement age from 55 to 60, leaving many firefighters concerned they will be forced out if they cannot pass rigorous fitness tests.

The pension contribution is also set to increase, with the FBU saying it will leave members paying more than 14 per cent of their wages, the equivalent of about £4,000 a year.

“Over the past five years we have only had two one per cent pay rises, which when you take into account inflation and living costs means we are now worse off,” said Brent.

“We understand that we will have to make some sacrifice but what is being proposed is not fair.

“Unfortunately, with the announcement this week it looks like the Government has set its stall out to extend retirement ages for everyone.”

Comments (14)

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2:34pm Sat 7 Dec 13

trolley dolley says...

If you don't like the job then don't do it.

You don't get any public sympathy by putting the old, frail and vulnerable at risk to enhance your pensions.

Why is it that our firefighters are not fit enough to work until they are 65 like their continental counterparts. Is it that we accept lower standards of entry?

This is just a rerun of the hospital cleaners strikes and deserves the same show of contempt by the public who are being put at risk.
If you don't like the job then don't do it. You don't get any public sympathy by putting the old, frail and vulnerable at risk to enhance your pensions. Why is it that our firefighters are not fit enough to work until they are 65 like their continental counterparts. Is it that we accept lower standards of entry? This is just a rerun of the hospital cleaners strikes and deserves the same show of contempt by the public who are being put at risk. trolley dolley

9:15am Sun 8 Dec 13

Ringer says...

Two days loss of salary just before Christmas? These unions really do know how to take the **** out of their members.


Brent Thorley, secretary for the South West, said: “We know walking out affects the public and it is the last thing we want to do."


The 'last thing'? Really? Seems to most of the public as though it's the very first thing you want to do the minute things might change or not be entirely in your favour.
Two days loss of salary just before Christmas? These unions really do know how to take the **** out of their members. [quote] Brent Thorley, secretary for the South West, said: “We know walking out affects the public and it is the last thing we want to do." [/quote] The 'last thing'? Really? Seems to most of the public as though it's the very first thing you want to do the minute things might change or not be entirely in your favour. Ringer

12:05pm Sun 8 Dec 13

house on the hill says...

Ringer wrote:
Two days loss of salary just before Christmas? These unions really do know how to take the **** out of their members.


Brent Thorley, secretary for the South West, said: “We know walking out affects the public and it is the last thing we want to do."


The 'last thing'? Really? Seems to most of the public as though it's the very first thing you want to do the minute things might change or not be entirely in your favour.
So are you anti Union then?
[quote][p][bold]Ringer[/bold] wrote: Two days loss of salary just before Christmas? These unions really do know how to take the **** out of their members. [quote] Brent Thorley, secretary for the South West, said: “We know walking out affects the public and it is the last thing we want to do." [/quote] The 'last thing'? Really? Seems to most of the public as though it's the very first thing you want to do the minute things might change or not be entirely in your favour.[/p][/quote]So are you anti Union then? house on the hill

2:06pm Sun 8 Dec 13

Davey Gravey says...

Back the firefighters!!!!!
Back the firefighters!!!!! Davey Gravey

4:34pm Sun 8 Dec 13

Ringer says...

house on the hill wrote:
Ringer wrote:
Two days loss of salary just before Christmas? These unions really do know how to take the **** out of their members.


Brent Thorley, secretary for the South West, said: “We know walking out affects the public and it is the last thing we want to do."


The 'last thing'? Really? Seems to most of the public as though it's the very first thing you want to do the minute things might change or not be entirely in your favour.
So are you anti Union then?
The original concept of unions was a great idea. Unfortunately, they're now all about their leadership's political agenda and the members themselves are merely a means for the unions to take their money and channel it to keep the Labour party out of bankruptcy and their own £150,000pa salaries.
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Ringer[/bold] wrote: Two days loss of salary just before Christmas? These unions really do know how to take the **** out of their members. [quote] Brent Thorley, secretary for the South West, said: “We know walking out affects the public and it is the last thing we want to do." [/quote] The 'last thing'? Really? Seems to most of the public as though it's the very first thing you want to do the minute things might change or not be entirely in your favour.[/p][/quote]So are you anti Union then?[/p][/quote]The original concept of unions was a great idea. Unfortunately, they're now all about their leadership's political agenda and the members themselves are merely a means for the unions to take their money and channel it to keep the Labour party out of bankruptcy and their own £150,000pa salaries. Ringer

10:03pm Sun 8 Dec 13

Blind Fury says...

trolley dolley wrote:
If you don't like the job then don't do it.

You don't get any public sympathy by putting the old, frail and vulnerable at risk to enhance your pensions.

Why is it that our firefighters are not fit enough to work until they are 65 like their continental counterparts. Is it that we accept lower standards of entry?

This is just a rerun of the hospital cleaners strikes and deserves the same show of contempt by the public who are being put at risk.
I sure firefighters love their jobs, hence being so passionate in protecting their futures. Not enhanced at all, just trying to keep the blood sucking government from taking away what they currently pay for.
Working to 60, sounds unfair, but possibly negotiable. But a little harsh to know the fact that, should any of them not be capable to do their frontline jobs due to aged related health issues, they will be dismissed from the job and their pension not paid.....I for one would be a lot happier if some protection could be negotiated in on any talks, sound fair to everyone else?
[quote][p][bold]trolley dolley[/bold] wrote: If you don't like the job then don't do it. You don't get any public sympathy by putting the old, frail and vulnerable at risk to enhance your pensions. Why is it that our firefighters are not fit enough to work until they are 65 like their continental counterparts. Is it that we accept lower standards of entry? This is just a rerun of the hospital cleaners strikes and deserves the same show of contempt by the public who are being put at risk.[/p][/quote]I sure firefighters love their jobs, hence being so passionate in protecting their futures. Not enhanced at all, just trying to keep the blood sucking government from taking away what they currently pay for. Working to 60, sounds unfair, but possibly negotiable. But a little harsh to know the fact that, should any of them not be capable to do their frontline jobs due to aged related health issues, they will be dismissed from the job and their pension not paid.....I for one would be a lot happier if some protection could be negotiated in on any talks, sound fair to everyone else? Blind Fury

10:09pm Sun 8 Dec 13

reality_check says...

If they cant do their current job until retirement age, then do something else for the last few years until retirement. Thats what everyone else has to do. Why should a firefighter get paid their pension so much earlier than everyone else?
If they cant do their current job until retirement age, then do something else for the last few years until retirement. Thats what everyone else has to do. Why should a firefighter get paid their pension so much earlier than everyone else? reality_check

10:31pm Sun 8 Dec 13

trolley dolley says...

Blind Fury, you have a point. If firefighters become unfit to the degree that they can no longer perform any duty in the fire service there should be ill health insurance provided to cover the event.
Blind Fury, you have a point. If firefighters become unfit to the degree that they can no longer perform any duty in the fire service there should be ill health insurance provided to cover the event. trolley dolley

6:36am Mon 9 Dec 13

Blind Fury says...

reality_check wrote:
If they cant do their current job until retirement age, then do something else for the last few years until retirement. Thats what everyone else has to do. Why should a firefighter get paid their pension so much earlier than everyone else?
Because, if they do not work the 'forced' extra years, they only get access to about half their pension.
Retire early,? No, retire after 30yrs service...like they signed up to.
Some folks on here really should have the FULL facts about this story, before spouting poison at the nations finest, and not just what the media spin lets them believe.
Read about it on the FBU website, I'm sure you'll open your eyes a little more then, I did!
[quote][p][bold]reality_check[/bold] wrote: If they cant do their current job until retirement age, then do something else for the last few years until retirement. Thats what everyone else has to do. Why should a firefighter get paid their pension so much earlier than everyone else?[/p][/quote]Because, if they do not work the 'forced' extra years, they only get access to about half their pension. Retire early,? No, retire after 30yrs service...like they signed up to. Some folks on here really should have the FULL facts about this story, before spouting poison at the nations finest, and not just what the media spin lets them believe. Read about it on the FBU website, I'm sure you'll open your eyes a little more then, I did! Blind Fury

6:42am Mon 9 Dec 13

Blind Fury says...

trolley dolley wrote:
Blind Fury, you have a point. If firefighters become unfit to the degree that they can no longer perform any duty in the fire service there should be ill health insurance provided to cover the event.
They sometimes can retire on ill health, although this is usually scrutinised nowadays. The sticking point in the argument is that they WILL be dismissed on capability grounds, should they no longer be fit enough, for which the employers refuse to give guarantees n protection.
And no, there aren't any 'non operational' jobs they could go into.
[quote][p][bold]trolley dolley[/bold] wrote: Blind Fury, you have a point. If firefighters become unfit to the degree that they can no longer perform any duty in the fire service there should be ill health insurance provided to cover the event.[/p][/quote]They sometimes can retire on ill health, although this is usually scrutinised nowadays. The sticking point in the argument is that they WILL be dismissed on capability grounds, should they no longer be fit enough, for which the employers refuse to give guarantees n protection. And no, there aren't any 'non operational' jobs they could go into. Blind Fury

7:06am Mon 9 Dec 13

house on the hill says...

Blind Fury wrote:
trolley dolley wrote:
If you don't like the job then don't do it.

You don't get any public sympathy by putting the old, frail and vulnerable at risk to enhance your pensions.

Why is it that our firefighters are not fit enough to work until they are 65 like their continental counterparts. Is it that we accept lower standards of entry?

This is just a rerun of the hospital cleaners strikes and deserves the same show of contempt by the public who are being put at risk.
I sure firefighters love their jobs, hence being so passionate in protecting their futures. Not enhanced at all, just trying to keep the blood sucking government from taking away what they currently pay for.
Working to 60, sounds unfair, but possibly negotiable. But a little harsh to know the fact that, should any of them not be capable to do their frontline jobs due to aged related health issues, they will be dismissed from the job and their pension not paid.....I for one would be a lot happier if some protection could be negotiated in on any talks, sound fair to everyone else?
There are millions out there who had their working conditions and pension rights changed years ago. For most it is the fact that they seem to think they are some sort of special case and immune for basic economics. If I have the same contract I started with I would be able to retire far earlier than I will be able to and with a lot more pension.

Get real and understand that this happens all the time in the private sector and the govt are not "bloodsuckers" they just expect you to take some of the pain the rest of the country have suffered for years. I am sorry but you are just selfish and out of touch with the rest of the economy as many of your public sector colleagues are. the world is changing and that includes you!
[quote][p][bold]Blind Fury[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]trolley dolley[/bold] wrote: If you don't like the job then don't do it. You don't get any public sympathy by putting the old, frail and vulnerable at risk to enhance your pensions. Why is it that our firefighters are not fit enough to work until they are 65 like their continental counterparts. Is it that we accept lower standards of entry? This is just a rerun of the hospital cleaners strikes and deserves the same show of contempt by the public who are being put at risk.[/p][/quote]I sure firefighters love their jobs, hence being so passionate in protecting their futures. Not enhanced at all, just trying to keep the blood sucking government from taking away what they currently pay for. Working to 60, sounds unfair, but possibly negotiable. But a little harsh to know the fact that, should any of them not be capable to do their frontline jobs due to aged related health issues, they will be dismissed from the job and their pension not paid.....I for one would be a lot happier if some protection could be negotiated in on any talks, sound fair to everyone else?[/p][/quote]There are millions out there who had their working conditions and pension rights changed years ago. For most it is the fact that they seem to think they are some sort of special case and immune for basic economics. If I have the same contract I started with I would be able to retire far earlier than I will be able to and with a lot more pension. Get real and understand that this happens all the time in the private sector and the govt are not "bloodsuckers" they just expect you to take some of the pain the rest of the country have suffered for years. I am sorry but you are just selfish and out of touch with the rest of the economy as many of your public sector colleagues are. the world is changing and that includes you! house on the hill

7:43am Mon 9 Dec 13

Ringer says...

Blind Fury wrote:
reality_check wrote:
If they cant do their current job until retirement age, then do something else for the last few years until retirement. Thats what everyone else has to do. Why should a firefighter get paid their pension so much earlier than everyone else?
Because, if they do not work the 'forced' extra years, they only get access to about half their pension.
Retire early,? No, retire after 30yrs service...like they signed up to.
Some folks on here really should have the FULL facts about this story, before spouting poison at the nations finest, and not just what the media spin lets them believe.
Read about it on the FBU website, I'm sure you'll open your eyes a little more then, I did!
Interesting point. Let's agree that the firemen can keep their contracts *exactly* as they were at the point they signed them when entering the force.

It would only then be fair to set their salary as it was at that same point also.

Deal?
[quote][p][bold]Blind Fury[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]reality_check[/bold] wrote: If they cant do their current job until retirement age, then do something else for the last few years until retirement. Thats what everyone else has to do. Why should a firefighter get paid their pension so much earlier than everyone else?[/p][/quote]Because, if they do not work the 'forced' extra years, they only get access to about half their pension. Retire early,? No, retire after 30yrs service...like they signed up to. Some folks on here really should have the FULL facts about this story, before spouting poison at the nations finest, and not just what the media spin lets them believe. Read about it on the FBU website, I'm sure you'll open your eyes a little more then, I did![/p][/quote]Interesting point. Let's agree that the firemen can keep their contracts *exactly* as they were at the point they signed them when entering the force. It would only then be fair to set their salary as it was at that same point also. Deal? Ringer

1:31pm Mon 9 Dec 13

reality_check says...

Blind Fury wrote:
reality_check wrote: If they cant do their current job until retirement age, then do something else for the last few years until retirement. Thats what everyone else has to do. Why should a firefighter get paid their pension so much earlier than everyone else?
Because, if they do not work the 'forced' extra years, they only get access to about half their pension. Retire early,? No, retire after 30yrs service...like they signed up to. Some folks on here really should have the FULL facts about this story, before spouting poison at the nations finest, and not just what the media spin lets them believe. Read about it on the FBU website, I'm sure you'll open your eyes a little more then, I did!
Gosh! You mean things have changed for the poor little things in the decades after they started in the job? How traumatic for them. No wonder they're spitting out their collective dummies.
If nothing in the world had changed since I first 'signed up' for a job I'd be looking forward to a prosperous retirement at 55. Unfortunately the world has changed and we are all having to re-assess what's realistic and what isn't. I'm afraid that includes those paid for by the tax-paying public, who can no longer afford to insulate them from the real world.
[quote][p][bold]Blind Fury[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]reality_check[/bold] wrote: If they cant do their current job until retirement age, then do something else for the last few years until retirement. Thats what everyone else has to do. Why should a firefighter get paid their pension so much earlier than everyone else?[/p][/quote]Because, if they do not work the 'forced' extra years, they only get access to about half their pension. Retire early,? No, retire after 30yrs service...like they signed up to. Some folks on here really should have the FULL facts about this story, before spouting poison at the nations finest, and not just what the media spin lets them believe. Read about it on the FBU website, I'm sure you'll open your eyes a little more then, I did![/p][/quote]Gosh! You mean things have changed for the poor little things in the decades after they started in the job? How traumatic for them. No wonder they're spitting out their collective dummies. If nothing in the world had changed since I first 'signed up' for a job I'd be looking forward to a prosperous retirement at 55. Unfortunately the world has changed and we are all having to re-assess what's realistic and what isn't. I'm afraid that includes those paid for by the tax-paying public, who can no longer afford to insulate them from the real world. reality_check

2:46pm Mon 9 Dec 13

GANGWARILY says...

I'm sure all the non-supporters of the Fire Service pay their National Insurance contributions too and indeed you may have even already qualified, but can I throw one question out there?

What contributions (as a percentage) do you pay each month from your salary towards your private pension?
I'm sure all the non-supporters of the Fire Service pay their National Insurance contributions too and indeed you may have even already qualified, but can I throw one question out there? What contributions (as a percentage) do you pay each month from your salary towards your private pension? GANGWARILY

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