Firefighters to strike in row over pensions

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Derbyshire firefighters will take part in a national strike next week in a row over pensions.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) announced on Tuesday that members across England and Wales will take strike action on Wednesday September 25 from noon to 4pm in response to the Government’s ‘unworkable’ pension scheme proposals, which they say could lead to thousands of firefighters facing the sack simply for getting older.

Matt Wrack, FBU General Secretary, said: “This initial strike is a warning shot to government.

“Firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions. The Government has 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.

“None of us want a strike, but we cannot compromise on public and firefighter safety.”

Chris Tapp, FBU Brigade Secretary for Derbyshire, added: “This strike has been forced by the refusal to negotiate of the Westminster and Cardiff governments. No firefighter wants to go on strike but we are being backed into a corner.

“Firefighters across the country including Derbyshire and the High Peak are taking this action so we would urge people to take extra care on the roads and in their homes because we cannot give an assurance what response will be delivered.”

During the strike, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS) will provide an emergency response at a reduced level so residents are being urged to take extra care.

Area Manager Bryan Bennett, spokesperson for DFRS, said: “Fire can start for a variety of reasons, from cooking being left unattended, to electrical faults or candles being placed too close to furnishings. It is essential that everyone ensures that they have a working smoke alarm fitted on every level of their home, to provide vital early warning of a fire and give occupants crucial time to escape.”