More than 600 firefighters will take strike action this weekend across South Yorkshire as they continue to fight for pension rights.
The four days of industrial action will begin at 6pm on Friday – Halloween – and continue over the weekend, when many early bonfire night celebrations will be taking place. It will end at 6pm on November 4.
Fire Brigade Union officials in South Yorkshire defended their stance over the pensions row that has gone on for more than three years, claiming they were led to believe a settlement offer might be forthcoming last week from the Government.
South Yorkshire FBU secretary Neil Carbutt said: “Members are absolutely exasperated by the lack of progress in negotiations. Last week we were let down again by the Government.
“Up until now we have postponed strikes and taken a measured approach but the anger of firefighters about the situation is now tangible.
“This strike action will affect Christmas pay packets and members stand to lose £350 to £400 each on average. That’s how angry we are.”
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service has contingency plans in place for the weekend, but urged the public to take extra safety precautions and, if possible, delay bonfire and firework parties until after the strike.
Fire Minister Penny Mordaunt has said the national strike action is ‘unnecessary’.
But firefighters claim proposals to make them work until the age of 60, instead of 55, are not acceptable and will mean they get lower retirement pensions although they will effectively pay more in to them. Initial strike action took place last August.