BOLTON’S firefighters will join colleagues across the country when they stage a 24-hour strike over a pensions row.
The walk-out, the longest of the three-year dispute, will take place on Thursday from 9am with another strike set to take place on Saturday, June 21, between 10am and 5pm.
In addition, firefighters will not carry out any voluntary overtime or conduct training of volunteer “strike-breakers” between the two dates.
The Fire Brigades Union is continuing to protest about proposed changes to firefighters’ pensions and a later retirement age.
FBU chiefs met the fire minister Brandon Lewis earlier this week.
The union claims that the government is refusing to publish alternative proposals on pensions which they believe could help to resolve the issue.
The decision to strike was made at a meeting of the FBU’s executive council on Wednesday, June 4.
Some of the key issues raised about the new proposals include firefighters having to work for 40 years to receive a full pension and the safety issues of 60-year-olds working on the front line.
Simon Yaffa, chairman of the Greater Manchester FBU branch, said the service needs a pension that is “fit for purpose”.
He said: “It’s no surprise to me that further action has been announced. There has been nothing coming from the government to alleviate our concerns.
“For a 60-year-old working on the front line, the stresses on the body are too much, through no fault of their own.
“Now people entering the service at 20 will have to work to that age to get their full pension. If they start at an older age they could have to work past 60, and if they can’t reach that age their pension will be less.
“It’s regrettable and public safety is always our top priority — but we have been repeatedly told that there are adequate plans in place so no lives will be put at risk.” County Fire Officer Steve McGuirk said: “We’ve recruited and trained emergency fire crew to provide fire cover during periods of industrial action and this has been the approach since the dispute began.
“This will be a reduced service in comparison to our day-to-day service, with fewer engines attending a more limited range of incidents.
“While we would urge people only to call us for true emergencies, they should feel confident that if they dial 999, they will still get a quick emergency response from well-trained crews.”