As firefighters prepare to go out on strike for 24 hours today (Thursday) in their continuing dispute with the government over its plans to change their pension scheme, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“It is regrettable that the government is still not listening to its own advice or the concerns of firefighters, and is set on imposing these ill-thought out pension changes.
“Firefighters do incredibly dangerous and demanding jobs. The public – which has nothing but the utmost respect for our emergency services – will be at a loss to understand why ministers think that at 60 firefighters will still have the necessary strength and stamina to rescue people from burning buildings.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Frances will be showing her support for striking firefighters on Thursday when she visits a picket line at the Soho Fire Station (126 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 5ET). Frances will be at the station from about 1.15pm for about an hour.
- The FBU is concerned that despite the lack of progress in negotiations, Fire Minister Brandon Lewis has said that he intends to start a formal public consultation. The FBU says that at the moment it is unclear exactly what the public are to be consulted on. To help ensure that all the relevant information is released, the FBU has produced a campaign tool enabling firefighters and their supporters to write to their MPs http://www.fbu.org.uk/?p=10164
- A review commissioned by the government to look at the future of fire service pensions, written by Professor Anthony Williams, was published in January 2013. Normal Pension Age for Firefighters: A Review for the Firefighters’ Pension Committee recommended that firefighters over the age of 55 who were unable to meet the fitness requirement could be allowed to leave early on an reduced pension (which should be calculated so there was no disadvantage to the firefighter or the pension scheme). In addition, younger firefighters who become permanently medically unfit for firefighting before the age of 55 should be able to take their pension early at the same rates as those who leave early because they were unable to meet the fitness requirement. Frances O’Grady has now written twice to Brandon Lewis, urging him to meet to discuss the Williams review findings.
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: [email protected]