Swindon AdvertiserFirst 24-hour firefighter strike announced after minister ploughs ahead with 'unworkable' pension scheme (From Swindon Advertiser)

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  • "Still don't really understand why fireman think they are some sort of special case. Millions of people in the country started work on contracts that included good final salary pension schemes only to see them amended or ended years ago and will have to work far longer than they thought when they started work. And with higher life expectancy, they will receive their pensions for longer so clearly someone has to pay for that, why should it be other people and not them? Their pensions should be on the same terms as other schemes and they should not get them at 55. Many other people have to find different jobs at that age and start again, why not them?

    Sorry this just reeks of selfishness and arrogance that somehow their job is more important than others! You are **** lucky to have any sort of final salary pension, just be a bit more grateful for how much the taxpayer will still contribute to your retirement."
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First 24-hour firefighter strike announced after minister ploughs ahead with 'unworkable' pension scheme

Swindon Advertiser: First 24-hour firefighter strike announced after minister ploughs ahead with 'unworkable' pension scheme First 24-hour firefighter strike announced after minister ploughs ahead with 'unworkable' pension scheme

FIREFIGHTERS in England and Wales will strike again over attacks on their pensions after the government confirmed it would implement a new scheme without further negotiations.

A 24-hour strike — the longest yet in the three-year campaign — will take place from 9am on Thursday, June 12, with another set for 10am to 5pm on Saturday, June 21.

In addition between the two strikes firefighters will not carry out any voluntary overtime — which is routinely needed by many fire and rescue services to maintain fire cover — or conduct training of strikebreakers between the beginning of the first strike and 9am on Sunday, June 22.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: “The minister has decided to bury his head in the sand, but he must accept that firefighters simply will not give up fighting for their futures — and our fire and rescue service.

“Concerns over these unworkable proposals remain as valid and grave as ever, and the government has ignored all the evidence including it’s own reports.

“It is as ever a difficult decision for us to take, but the only way for us to resolve this unnecessary and costly dispute is for the government to start listening to reason.”

The decision to strike was made at a meeting of the FBU’s executive council yesterday.

On Tuesday FBU officials had met the fire minister, Brandon Lewis, in the hope that discussion could continue, although their appeal fell on deaf ears.

On May 23, the minister opened a ‘consultation’ on their proposals, signalling an end to discussions with firefighters over the scheme.

However, the Department for Communities and Local Government is still refusing to publish alternative, fully-costed proposals that they have admitted to being in possession of since March 19.

As a result, the FBU argues that the firefighters, the public and other parties — including ministers in the Welsh and Scottish governments — are being kept in the dark, and the consultation being rendered meaningless.

Before 2010, firefighters already contributed one of the highest proportions of their salary towards their pensions (11 per cent), and in April this increased for the third year running.

Firefighters typically now pay over £4,000 a year from a £29,000 salary, and the government has announced they will impose another increase in 2015.

The FBU says increasing numbers of members are considering leaving the pension scheme as a result of its decreasing affordability — posing difficult questions over its sustainability.

Under the government’s proposals, firefighters who are forced to retire before the age of 60 as a result of ageing will have half of their pension taken away.

The government’s own report, published in December 2013 by Dr Tony Williams, found that large numbers of firefighters would be unable to maintain operational fitness until 60.

The two strikes will be the thirteenth and fourteenth over pensions. The first was on Thursday 24 September 2013.
 

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