More strike action by firefighters
9:00am Friday 13th December 2013 in News
FIREFIGHTERS will go on strike again in Bolton over the weekend in their continued fight against government pension reforms.
Crews will walk out for the fifth and sixth times tonight and tomorrow night between 6pm and 10pm.
Unions said the latest walk-out is an attempt to encourage the government to resume negotiations after two months with no discussions.
The same emergency contingency plans will be used as for the previous strikes.
Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union (FBU) general secretary, said: “It’s now been almost two months since the government has been willing to meet us for negotiations despite several invitations from us.
“Until they do and until they start to actually resolve the dispute, we’ll keep up the pressure for the sake of public safety and our members’ pensions.”
The FBU is angered by government proposals to raise the retirement age of firefighters from 55 to 60, which they feel is too old to be providing crucial and physically demanding assistance.
Evidence suggests that at least two-hirds of the current workforce would be unable to maintain the fitness standards required by the fire service beyond the age of 55.
Such firefighters risk being dismissed or having their pension reduced by almost half.
County Fire Officer for Greater Manchester Steve McGuirk said: “We have recruited and trained an emergency fire crew to provide fire cover.
“This will be much reduced from our usual service with fewer engines attending a limited range of incidents and we will be prioritising calls.
“People need make sure they have a working smoke alarm, know the main causes of fire, have a fire escape plan and carry out a bedtime routine.”
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