South Yorkshire firefighters set to go on strike

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Firefighters across South Yorkshire are to go on strike next weekend -in an ongoing dispute over pensions.

Crew members from across the county will walk out between 6.30pm and 11.30pm on Saturday, October 19.

The Fire Bridages Union said the strike - the second in two weeks - is in response to a ‘Government attack’ on firefighter pensions.

The union fears firefighters will lose their jobs without access to their pensions when they are no longer deemed fit enough to be on the front line, claiming there are not enough community or office jobs for them to do anymore.

FBU officials claim firefighters already pay some of the highest pension contributions in the UK public or private sector and have seen increases for two consecutive years, with further increased planned.

Firefighters from across England and Wales will take part in the industrial action.

FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack said: “We had hoped our first strike was enough to show government that firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions.

“No firefighter wants to strike, and it’s desperately disappointing that governments in Westminster and Cardiff continue to deny reality over pensions costs and the need for a pension scheme that reflects the job firefighters do.

“Firefighters simply cannot be expected to fight fires and rescue families in their late-50s and into their 60s, and should not pay far worse ratios employer-employee contributions than those in the public or private sector.

“We hope this second strike will mean both governments will be willing to discuss the full range of concerns that firefighters and the general public have expressed.

“However, more strikes cannot be ruled out if that’s what it takes to protect public and firefighter safety from these ludicrous attacks.”

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said: “We are disappointed that further strike dates have been announced and call on the Government and the FBU to negotiate an end to this dispute as quickly as possible.

“We are satisfied with the contingency arrangements we have in place. These arrangements were tested for the first time two weeks ago, and we consider ourselves fortunate that the public heeded our calls to stay safe and keep incidents low.

“People should be in no doubt that the service we will be able to provide will be considerably depleted compared to our normal arrangements. Therefore, the best way people can keep themselves safe is to take care to prevent fires from happening in the first place, and to ensure they have working smoke alarms fitted and regularly tested.”