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Firefighters set to strike for eight days over pension dispute
WIRRAL firefighters will walk out on eight consecutive days this month in a strike over pensions.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union in England and Wales believe the current proposals by Government are unacceptable, unworkable, unrealistic and nothing short of a “vicious” attack” on firefighters’ pensions.
Around 95% of Merseyside’s 760 firefighters are expected to set down their tools as part of the strikes.
The FBU has been in negotiations with the Government for three years in an attempt to avoid the implementation of proposals that they say would see firefighters paying more, working longer and receiving less.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “The Government must realise that firefighters cannot accept proposals that would have such devastating consequences for their futures, their families’ futures – and the future of the fire and rescue service itself.
“We have tried every route available to us to make the Government see sense over their attacks.”
Mr Wrack added: “Shorter strike periods have illustrated the strength of feeling among firefighters while limiting disruption to the fire service, the public and our members’ working lives.
“But the Government is merely ploughing ahead, forcing firefighters to react.”
Merseyside currently has 760 firefighters – down from 1,500 a decade ago.
Firefighters are also due to strike this Thursday – the fifteenth in their campaign – alongside local government workers, teachers and civil servants who are campaigning over a range of issues, including attacks on pay, pensions and workloads.
A spokesman for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service reassured that trained firefighters who are not members of the FBU will respond to 999 calls.
He said: “The public and communities in Merseyside will have a significant emergency response provided by our staff during the action on Thursday, July 10.
"We would like to reassure people that 999 calls will be answered and responded to as normal and fully trained firefighters will also be on duty throughout the planned action from July 14, up to and including July 21.
“We will also continue with our community fire safety work – 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.”
Firefighters voted by 78% for strike action in August last year.
Firefighters will strike between 10am and 7pm on Thursday, July 10.
The eight consecutive day strike will begin on Monday, July 14. The strike times are:
- Monday, July 14: 6am – 8am and 5pm – 7pm.
- Tuesday, July 15: 6am – 8am and 5pm – 7pm.
- Wednesday, July 16: 6am – 8am and 5pm – 7pm.
- Thursday, July 17: 6am – 8am and 5pm – 7pm.
- Friday, July 18: 6am – 8am and 11pm – 1am.
- Saturday, July 19: 11am – 1pm and 11pm – 1am.
- Sunday, July 20: 5pm – 7pm.
- Monday, July 21: 6am – 8am and 5pm – 7pm.