Union leaders update firefighters on battle

Swindon Advertiser: Drove Road fire station strike action last month and waiting for more action Drove Road fire station strike action last month and waiting for more action

HIGH profile talks took place yesterday between leaders of the Fire Brigades Union and Swindon firefighters about the ongoing disagreement with the Government over pensions.

The General Secretary of the union, Matt Wrack, visited Swindon to inform members that talks had been arranged with the Government and were due to take place.

The Government is looking to raise the pension contribution of firefighters across the country as well as increase the retirement age from 55 to 60.

A number of strikes have been held already in recent months, most notably over Christmas and New Year but hopes are now rising that an agreement can be reached.

Brent Thorley, the Brigade Secretary for the South West, said there was a more positive feeling among members following several months of no movement.

He said: “Matt came to Swindon to talk to members to give a rallying call and give them extra information.

“We have not announced any dates for a while because three dates have been scheduled over the end of January and the start of February.

“It’s definitely encouraging because for a long time it appears as though nothing was happening. We had to fight for it and the Government gave us no choice but it’s positive something has happened because at one point they were not shifting from their position.

“The important thing now is that the talks are meaningful. We will have to see how the talks go and then decide from there where to go.”

Matt, the General Secretary of the union, said that despite the lack of industrial action it did not mean firefighters had abandoned their position.

“Although there has been a break in industrial action to allow for more talks, firefighters across the country remain angry at proposals that could see them losing half their pensions for being unable to work until 60 years old,” he said. “Contributions are scheduled to go up again this year – with further increases being proposed for 2015, meaning firefighters will soon pay £4,000 a year for their pensions.

“Firefighters in the south west were among those who helped keep the public safe during the devastating floods over the last month and their input into our campaign is vital to our ability to protect their pensions.”

Comments (13)

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8:39am Tue 21 Jan 14

swindondad says...

Thankfully life expectance continues to rise with most people being able to look forward to many years of retirement.

This does mean that we will all have to pay more for our pensions and those in the public sector (who get a fantastic deal ATM) are no exception. Unless the FBU can come up with a funded / costed alternative they should just be grateful for the great deal that is on the table.

I would challenge the FBU leadership to name a private sector pension scheme that is as good for frontline staff.
Thankfully life expectance continues to rise with most people being able to look forward to many years of retirement. This does mean that we will all have to pay more for our pensions and those in the public sector (who get a fantastic deal ATM) are no exception. Unless the FBU can come up with a funded / costed alternative they should just be grateful for the great deal that is on the table. I would challenge the FBU leadership to name a private sector pension scheme that is as good for frontline staff. swindondad

10:53am Tue 21 Jan 14

Suindone says...

I must say that I am not surprised by the comment. Some people think that pensions like wages are a race to the bottom. Obviously there is a lot of envy and ignorance of workers rights.
I must say that I am not surprised by the comment. Some people think that pensions like wages are a race to the bottom. Obviously there is a lot of envy and ignorance of workers rights. Suindone

12:53pm Tue 21 Jan 14

swindondad says...

Suindone wrote:
I must say that I am not surprised by the comment. Some people think that pensions like wages are a race to the bottom. Obviously there is a lot of envy and ignorance of workers rights.
Anyone but a FOOL should be able to see that if people live longer they will have to accept that they either:-

Work until a greater age,
Pay in more every year they work,
Accept a lower payout each month of retirement.

Or some combination of the above.
Unless of course you wish to euthanize anyone who has the temerity to live past 75.
[quote][p][bold]Suindone[/bold] wrote: I must say that I am not surprised by the comment. Some people think that pensions like wages are a race to the bottom. Obviously there is a lot of envy and ignorance of workers rights.[/p][/quote]Anyone but a FOOL should be able to see that if people live longer they will have to accept that they either:- Work until a greater age, Pay in more every year they work, Accept a lower payout each month of retirement. Or some combination of the above. Unless of course you wish to euthanize anyone who has the temerity to live past 75. swindondad

1:23pm Tue 21 Jan 14

house on the hill says...

Suindone wrote:
I must say that I am not surprised by the comment. Some people think that pensions like wages are a race to the bottom. Obviously there is a lot of envy and ignorance of workers rights.
That is a typically ignorant comment from a public sector worker. Private sector pension funds cant just go to the taxpayer to top themselves up ad infinitum as the public sector ones have continued to do for many years. Why should other people pay over the odds to give you a better pension than the one they will get, so much for equality and fairness. And don't forget they all get the old age pension on top of their gold plated ones too!
Very greedy and completely out of touch with the reality of economics.
[quote][p][bold]Suindone[/bold] wrote: I must say that I am not surprised by the comment. Some people think that pensions like wages are a race to the bottom. Obviously there is a lot of envy and ignorance of workers rights.[/p][/quote]That is a typically ignorant comment from a public sector worker. Private sector pension funds cant just go to the taxpayer to top themselves up ad infinitum as the public sector ones have continued to do for many years. Why should other people pay over the odds to give you a better pension than the one they will get, so much for equality and fairness. And don't forget they all get the old age pension on top of their gold plated ones too! Very greedy and completely out of touch with the reality of economics. house on the hill

1:40pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Davey Gravey says...

Shouldn't people who do such a dangerous and physically demanding job be entitled to a reasonable retirement age and a decent pension?
Old men in the fire service doesn't really seem realistic.
Shouldn't people who do such a dangerous and physically demanding job be entitled to a reasonable retirement age and a decent pension? Old men in the fire service doesn't really seem realistic. Davey Gravey

1:53pm Tue 21 Jan 14

ChannelX says...

Davey Gravey wrote:
Shouldn't people who do such a dangerous and physically demanding job be entitled to a reasonable retirement age and a decent pension?
Old men in the fire service doesn't really seem realistic.
Not if that means they could quite easily end up being paid more pension years than they actually did in the job, no.

If I young man enters the fire service at 26, he is currently able to retire at 55 and yet could quite easily live to be 85.

How can someone only work a job 29 years and then retire and get paid for a further 30 years?

The state cannot possibly continue to pay people for working less years than they don't actually work. It's not only complete and utter lunacy, but we already know it's entirely unaffordable and unsustainable.

It's also quite ridiculous (and insulting) to suggest that most men of, say, 58 years old are not able to perform average-to-strenuous physical and manual work.

It would also be very interesting to know how many genuinely serious call-outs to fires where the firefighters lives are actually in danger they actually tend to make on average in a year.

Some people are acting as if 60 year old men are being expected to shoulder lift numerous people from blazing high-rise flats every other week.
[quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: Shouldn't people who do such a dangerous and physically demanding job be entitled to a reasonable retirement age and a decent pension? Old men in the fire service doesn't really seem realistic.[/p][/quote]Not if that means they could quite easily end up being paid more pension years than they actually did in the job, no. If I young man enters the fire service at 26, he is currently able to retire at 55 and yet could quite easily live to be 85. How can someone only work a job 29 years and then retire and get paid for a further 30 years? The state cannot possibly continue to pay people for working less years than they don't actually work. It's not only complete and utter lunacy, but we already know it's entirely unaffordable and unsustainable. It's also quite ridiculous (and insulting) to suggest that most men of, say, 58 years old are not able to perform average-to-strenuous physical and manual work. It would also be very interesting to know how many genuinely serious call-outs to fires where the firefighters lives are actually in danger they actually tend to make on average in a year. Some people are acting as if 60 year old men are being expected to shoulder lift numerous people from blazing high-rise flats every other week. ChannelX

2:19pm Tue 21 Jan 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

ChannelX wrote:
Davey Gravey wrote:
Shouldn't people who do such a dangerous and physically demanding job be entitled to a reasonable retirement age and a decent pension?
Old men in the fire service doesn't really seem realistic.
Not if that means they could quite easily end up being paid more pension years than they actually did in the job, no.

If I young man enters the fire service at 26, he is currently able to retire at 55 and yet could quite easily live to be 85.

How can someone only work a job 29 years and then retire and get paid for a further 30 years?

The state cannot possibly continue to pay people for working less years than they don't actually work. It's not only complete and utter lunacy, but we already know it's entirely unaffordable and unsustainable.

It's also quite ridiculous (and insulting) to suggest that most men of, say, 58 years old are not able to perform average-to-strenuous physical and manual work.

It would also be very interesting to know how many genuinely serious call-outs to fires where the firefighters lives are actually in danger they actually tend to make on average in a year.

Some people are acting as if 60 year old men are being expected to shoulder lift numerous people from blazing high-rise flats every other week.
isn't what we are doing with the current OAPs?
[quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: Shouldn't people who do such a dangerous and physically demanding job be entitled to a reasonable retirement age and a decent pension? Old men in the fire service doesn't really seem realistic.[/p][/quote]Not if that means they could quite easily end up being paid more pension years than they actually did in the job, no. If I young man enters the fire service at 26, he is currently able to retire at 55 and yet could quite easily live to be 85. How can someone only work a job 29 years and then retire and get paid for a further 30 years? The state cannot possibly continue to pay people for working less years than they don't actually work. It's not only complete and utter lunacy, but we already know it's entirely unaffordable and unsustainable. It's also quite ridiculous (and insulting) to suggest that most men of, say, 58 years old are not able to perform average-to-strenuous physical and manual work. It would also be very interesting to know how many genuinely serious call-outs to fires where the firefighters lives are actually in danger they actually tend to make on average in a year. Some people are acting as if 60 year old men are being expected to shoulder lift numerous people from blazing high-rise flats every other week.[/p][/quote]isn't what we are doing with the current OAPs? A.Baron-Cohen

2:19pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Hmmmf says...

Brent Thorley said:
We had to fight for it

Where 'fight' = whine a lot and not do the job we all pay you to do.
[quote][p][bold]Brent Thorley[/bold] said: We had to fight for it[/quote] Where 'fight' = whine a lot and not do the job we all pay you to do. Hmmmf

2:25pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Hmmmf says...

A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
Davey Gravey wrote:
Shouldn't people who do such a dangerous and physically demanding job be entitled to a reasonable retirement age and a decent pension?
Old men in the fire service doesn't really seem realistic.
Not if that means they could quite easily end up being paid more pension years than they actually did in the job, no.

If I young man enters the fire service at 26, he is currently able to retire at 55 and yet could quite easily live to be 85.

How can someone only work a job 29 years and then retire and get paid for a further 30 years?

The state cannot possibly continue to pay people for working less years than they don't actually work. It's not only complete and utter lunacy, but we already know it's entirely unaffordable and unsustainable.

It's also quite ridiculous (and insulting) to suggest that most men of, say, 58 years old are not able to perform average-to-strenuous physical and manual work.

It would also be very interesting to know how many genuinely serious call-outs to fires where the firefighters lives are actually in danger they actually tend to make on average in a year.

Some people are acting as if 60 year old men are being expected to shoulder lift numerous people from blazing high-rise flats every other week.
isn't what we are doing with the current OAPs?
Yes, which is why retirement age has already been increased for those of us currently working to pay for them, and for those who will be working to pay for ours.
[quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: Shouldn't people who do such a dangerous and physically demanding job be entitled to a reasonable retirement age and a decent pension? Old men in the fire service doesn't really seem realistic.[/p][/quote]Not if that means they could quite easily end up being paid more pension years than they actually did in the job, no. If I young man enters the fire service at 26, he is currently able to retire at 55 and yet could quite easily live to be 85. How can someone only work a job 29 years and then retire and get paid for a further 30 years? The state cannot possibly continue to pay people for working less years than they don't actually work. It's not only complete and utter lunacy, but we already know it's entirely unaffordable and unsustainable. It's also quite ridiculous (and insulting) to suggest that most men of, say, 58 years old are not able to perform average-to-strenuous physical and manual work. It would also be very interesting to know how many genuinely serious call-outs to fires where the firefighters lives are actually in danger they actually tend to make on average in a year. Some people are acting as if 60 year old men are being expected to shoulder lift numerous people from blazing high-rise flats every other week.[/p][/quote]isn't what we are doing with the current OAPs?[/p][/quote]Yes, which is why retirement age has already been increased for those of us currently working to pay for them, and for those who will be working to pay for ours. Hmmmf

2:28pm Tue 21 Jan 14

trolley dolley says...

When I look at the photo at the top of the article it would appear that a few of the "firefighters" are overweight. (Just look at their faces)

They look like they could do with going on an exercise and fitness routine.

Why is it that these people think that 60 is too old to blow out matches.

I think the general public are sick and tired of hearing their complaints and would like to see them behave as professionals.
When I look at the photo at the top of the article it would appear that a few of the "firefighters" are overweight. (Just look at their faces) They look like they could do with going on an exercise and fitness routine. Why is it that these people think that 60 is too old to blow out matches. I think the general public are sick and tired of hearing their complaints and would like to see them behave as professionals. trolley dolley

3:51pm Tue 21 Jan 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

Hmmmf wrote:
A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
Davey Gravey wrote:
Shouldn't people who do such a dangerous and physically demanding job be entitled to a reasonable retirement age and a decent pension?
Old men in the fire service doesn't really seem realistic.
Not if that means they could quite easily end up being paid more pension years than they actually did in the job, no.

If I young man enters the fire service at 26, he is currently able to retire at 55 and yet could quite easily live to be 85.

How can someone only work a job 29 years and then retire and get paid for a further 30 years?

The state cannot possibly continue to pay people for working less years than they don't actually work. It's not only complete and utter lunacy, but we already know it's entirely unaffordable and unsustainable.

It's also quite ridiculous (and insulting) to suggest that most men of, say, 58 years old are not able to perform average-to-strenuous physical and manual work.

It would also be very interesting to know how many genuinely serious call-outs to fires where the firefighters lives are actually in danger they actually tend to make on average in a year.

Some people are acting as if 60 year old men are being expected to shoulder lift numerous people from blazing high-rise flats every other week.
isn't what we are doing with the current OAPs?
Yes, which is why retirement age has already been increased for those of us currently working to pay for them, and for those who will be working to pay for ours.
we are currently paying pensions for those having retired at 50-55 and going to live until they are way into their 80s and they are getting inflation busting pension rises and other benefits.....I guess one rule for them and another for the rest of us :-)
[quote][p][bold]Hmmmf[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: Shouldn't people who do such a dangerous and physically demanding job be entitled to a reasonable retirement age and a decent pension? Old men in the fire service doesn't really seem realistic.[/p][/quote]Not if that means they could quite easily end up being paid more pension years than they actually did in the job, no. If I young man enters the fire service at 26, he is currently able to retire at 55 and yet could quite easily live to be 85. How can someone only work a job 29 years and then retire and get paid for a further 30 years? The state cannot possibly continue to pay people for working less years than they don't actually work. It's not only complete and utter lunacy, but we already know it's entirely unaffordable and unsustainable. It's also quite ridiculous (and insulting) to suggest that most men of, say, 58 years old are not able to perform average-to-strenuous physical and manual work. It would also be very interesting to know how many genuinely serious call-outs to fires where the firefighters lives are actually in danger they actually tend to make on average in a year. Some people are acting as if 60 year old men are being expected to shoulder lift numerous people from blazing high-rise flats every other week.[/p][/quote]isn't what we are doing with the current OAPs?[/p][/quote]Yes, which is why retirement age has already been increased for those of us currently working to pay for them, and for those who will be working to pay for ours.[/p][/quote]we are currently paying pensions for those having retired at 50-55 and going to live until they are way into their 80s and they are getting inflation busting pension rises and other benefits.....I guess one rule for them and another for the rest of us :-) A.Baron-Cohen

3:53pm Tue 21 Jan 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

trolley dolley wrote:
When I look at the photo at the top of the article it would appear that a few of the "firefighters" are overweight. (Just look at their faces)

They look like they could do with going on an exercise and fitness routine.

Why is it that these people think that 60 is too old to blow out matches.

I think the general public are sick and tired of hearing their complaints and would like to see them behave as professionals.
The fire services should be private much like the NHS and schools, the users should be the payers.
[quote][p][bold]trolley dolley[/bold] wrote: When I look at the photo at the top of the article it would appear that a few of the "firefighters" are overweight. (Just look at their faces) They look like they could do with going on an exercise and fitness routine. Why is it that these people think that 60 is too old to blow out matches. I think the general public are sick and tired of hearing their complaints and would like to see them behave as professionals.[/p][/quote]The fire services should be private much like the NHS and schools, the users should be the payers. A.Baron-Cohen

11:16am Sat 25 Jan 14

Suindone says...

Why is this important?

By reneging on their promise they have denied a generation of their pension rights. This has had a devastating effect upon those women and men who have worked long and hard believing that they were to retire at 60 and 65 respectively.

Due to the timescale that this law was introduced, hundreds of thousands of us have been denied the opportunity to make any contingency plans for retirement. After working hard for decades the short notice that the changes were imposed also immediately vanquished retirement plans.

However, Civil Servants, within 10 years of normal retirement age were, quite rightly, given immunity from the changes to the Civil Service pension reforms. This was to " Provide transitional protection for those closest to retirement".

MP's and Judges are also protected from the changes because "This protection strives to be fair to members who are close to their expected retirement age and are less able to change their plans than younger members". Not only is this hypocrisy on their part it is also discrimination and therefore illegal.

It is discrimination to impose “rules” that disadvantage one group of people more than another. It is against the law to treat someone less favourably than someone else. How can this Government be allowed to get away with this?

Because of this broken promise those of us affected are now being forced to work longer and wait longer to receive our state pension, which is an entitlement and something to which we have contributed to all of our working lives.

These changes will also have a detrimental impact upon employment opportunities for young people. The longer we are being forced to work the fewer jobs there will be for them. Is this an honourable way to treat people?

The right to retire with the financial security at the age that has been promised throughout our working lives, has been denied. Dreams have been shattered.

This broken promise is unfair, unnecessary and totally unacceptable. Ministers need to do a u-turn on this mean-spirited move and honour their word.
Why is this important? By reneging on their promise they have denied a generation of their pension rights. This has had a devastating effect upon those women and men who have worked long and hard believing that they were to retire at 60 and 65 respectively. Due to the timescale that this law was introduced, hundreds of thousands of us have been denied the opportunity to make any contingency plans for retirement. After working hard for decades the short notice that the changes were imposed also immediately vanquished retirement plans. However, Civil Servants, within 10 years of normal retirement age were, quite rightly, given immunity from the changes to the Civil Service pension reforms. This was to " Provide transitional protection for those closest to retirement". MP's and Judges are also protected from the changes because "This protection strives to be fair to members who are close to their expected retirement age and are less able to change their plans than younger members". Not only is this hypocrisy on their part it is also discrimination and therefore illegal. It is discrimination to impose “rules” that disadvantage one group of people more than another. It is against the law to treat someone less favourably than someone else. How can this Government be allowed to get away with this? Because of this broken promise those of us affected are now being forced to work longer and wait longer to receive our state pension, which is an entitlement and something to which we have contributed to all of our working lives. These changes will also have a detrimental impact upon employment opportunities for young people. The longer we are being forced to work the fewer jobs there will be for them. Is this an honourable way to treat people? The right to retire with the financial security at the age that has been promised throughout our working lives, has been denied. Dreams have been shattered. This broken promise is unfair, unnecessary and totally unacceptable. Ministers need to do a u-turn on this mean-spirited move and honour their word. Suindone

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