Fire fighters set to strike over planned pension reform

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Firefighters in West Yorkshire will go on strike for four hours on Wednesday, September 25, in a row over pensions.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said that the strike, which will take place from 12pm to 4pm, is a “warning shot to government”.

The decision to strike relates to an on-going trade dispute at national level between the FBU and the Government over its public sector pension reform programme and in particular the current proposals to introduce a new Firefighters’ Pension Scheme from April 2015 to replace the two current pension schemes that operational personnel are members of.

The FBU has stated that it still hopes that the matter can be resolved, however, if not further dates of strike action will be announced.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “This initial strike is a warning shot to government. Firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions.

“Governments in Westminster and Cardiff have simply refused to see sense on these issues.

“It is ludicrous to expect firefighters to fight fires and rescue families in their late 50s - the lives of the general public and firefighters themselves will be endangered.”

The FBU had previously said the current proposals would see firefighters who retire or are forced out of work at 55 losing about 50 per cent of their pensions.

Simon Pilling, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority’s Chief Fire Officer, said that contingency arrangements have recently been tested by way of exercises during recent weeks, but is asking everyone, including members of the public and business communities to play their part in preventing fires and other emergency incidents.

In the upper Calder Valley there are stations in Mytholmroyd and Todmorden.