Firefighters across South Yorkshire will be out on strike again today amid ongoing rows over pensions.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will have a ‘severely depleted’ service from 2pm today to 2am tomorrow as firefighters make their voices heard.
The Fire Brigades Union is protesting against government proposals to increase the retirement age of firefighters to 60.
The FBU says it is ‘ludicrous’ that 60-year-olds would be expected to meet the same physical fitness standards as new recruits aged 20, and it would put more lives at risk.
FBU South Yorkshire brigade secretary Neil Carbutt said the pension scheme he and his fellow firefighters are paying into is also unworkable.
He said: “I take home £1,460 every four weeks for the job I do and the pension contribution is a large amount of that.
“I currently pay £340 a month into a pension scheme. It is one of the most expensive pensions for workers anywhere in the UK.”
Firefighters will be out on strike again tomorrow from 10am to 3pm. During strike times there will be a skeleton service of just eight fire engines available in the whole of South Yorkshire.
But Neil said that despite the risk caused by the strike to 999 responses, the industrial action is necessary.
He said: “With what happened in Nether Edge last weekend in our minds, incidents like that leave a mark on firefighters.
“Firefighters who attend jobs like that do care.
“People that join the job of a firefighter inherently care – that’s part of the reason why they join.
“We are very concerned about lives, but people have to realise if firefighters are working until 60 and they’re too old to carry out their jobs properly, that’s just going to cause more risk to lives.”