Firefighters strike in run up to Bonfire Night

James Courtney, chief fire officer.
James Courtney, chief fire officer.
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Firefighters in South Yorkshire are set to walk out on strike for four days in the run up to the busy bonfire night period.

They will join Fire Brigades Union colleagues across the UK for the industrial action which will begin at 6pm on October 31.

The strike is the result of a long-standing row over pensions and will end on November 4.

But it includes the weekend of October 1 and 2 when there are Bonfire Night celebrations taking part across the county.

James Courtney, chief fire officer at South Yorkshire Fire Service, said: “We’re aware of the new strike dates and, as has been the case during previous strike periods, we have contingency arrangements in place to provide a basic level of fire cover to the people of South Yorkshire.

“This is the longest period of strike action to have been called so far, so we want to remind people to take extra care to stay safe and prevent fires.

“We also want people to take extreme caution if they are planning on holding their own bonfire or fireworks display, or consider holding their event on a different night instead.”

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The dispute is over plans to make firefighters work until they are 60.

Union officials say that under the government’s proposals, firefighters will have to work until they are 60 instead of 55, pay more into their pensions and get less in retirement.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “Firefighters are incandescent following two months of negotiations which have led to no new proposals.

“Firefighters will not stand by and see our members’ pension rights destroyed by a government which does not give a damn about the safety or wellbeing of firefighters or the long term.

“The public do not want 60-year-olds tackling fires. Everyone understands the stupidity of these plans - except government ministers.”

FBU members first walked out on strike in the current dispute in August.