FIREFIGHTERS in Worcestershire and across the UK will stage the latest in a long series of strikes in a row over pensions next week.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will join teachers, civil servants and other public sector workers in a day of action on Thursday, July 10 against what they consider to be unfair pay and pension arrangements.
Firefighters will walk out between 10am and 7pm in the latest strike in the union’s campaign against government proposals to increase the retirement age from 55 to 60 and halve pensions for those who chose to retire before their 60th birthday.
It is estimated two million public sector workers will strike next week.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said the government was “not listening” to its concerns.
“The fact that this government has united so many workers to take strike action against them is a testament to the failure of their policies,” he said.
“They are destroying our public services and wrecking the lives of millions.
“If they won’t listen and won’t negotiate then this is the result — and they should face more of the same if necessary.”
The FBU has claimed firefighters in their late 50s may not be fit enough to effectively carry out their jobs, putting both themselves and others at risk.
Mr Wrack said: “Firefighting is a dangerous and physically demanding job which requires specific fitness standards.
“It is obvious to everyone that it is more and more difficult to meet those standards in your 50s compared to your 20s.
”Firefighters in that position face a stark choice of being sacked or losing half their pension.
“This is outrageous and all the claims that the government values our firefighters have been exposed as an utter lie.
“They need to wake up to the fact that we are not going away and we will be continuing our fight for pension justice.”
The union recently launched a legal challenge to the government’s proposals, claiming it amounts to age discrimination.