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Merseyside firefighters to walk out at the weekend
THOUSANDS of firefighters across Merseyside will go out on strike for a second time this weekend as a row over pensions continues.
The latest five-hour strike by members of the Fire Brigades Union will take place on Saturday from 6.30 to 11.30pm.
The action is in response to government plans to make firefighters work up to 60.
The union is campaigning against changes which, it says, will mean firefighters will have to work longer, pay more into their pensions and receive less in retirement.
It argues that the move will also see firefighters having to work on frontline duties until they are 60.
But the Government maintains the changes were fair and would still give firemen and women one of the most generous pensions in the public sector.
Union members have argued firefighters working into their late-50s is 'dangerous and unachievable'.
Crews first walked out for four hours on the afternoon of September 25.
Les Skarratts, from Merseyside FBU, said: "The Government doesn’t seem to have taken any notice of the argument.
"We've had very little response from that department.
"There will be very little fire cover during the strike. We are demanding that the government acts responsibly.
"The support we had from the public last time was tremendous and really boosted everyone."
Merseyside Fire service said the industrial action on September 25 passed "relatively quietly" with officers attending six minor call-outs.
Responding to the Fire Brigades Union call for strike action, a spokesperson for Merseyside Fire and rescue Service said: "The Government is in dispute with the National Fire Brigades' Union over changes to their members' Pension scheme.
"The public should be reassured that we will maintain an emergency response capability and have at least 20 appliances available continuously.
"We will also continue our community fire prevention activities during this period – recognising the importance of providing fire safety information at such a time.
"During any industrial action we always ask the public to show extra care and vigilance and it is often the case that the number of incidents falls when strike action takes place."
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