Christmas Eve firefighters’ strike

Firefighters are to strike on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and launch a ban on overtime in an escalation of their long-running dispute with the Government over pensions.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in England and Wales will walk out for five hours from 7pm on December 24, for six hours from 6.30pm on December 31 and for two hours from 6.30am on January 3.

FBU members in Scotland will also join the industrial action for the first time since the row flared, by joining a ban on overtime.

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Between 7pm on December 27 and 7pm on the 29th, all firefighters in the union across England, Wales and Scotland will refuse to work voluntary overtime. It will be the first time firefighters in the three nations will be taking industrial action in the bitter row over retirement age and pensions.

FBU members in England and Wales stopped work on Friday and Saturday evenings, so after the new walkouts, the union will have staged nine separate strikes since September.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “The Government must stop claiming they are negotiating when they have refused to talk for two months.”

Fire Minister Brandon Lewis said: “The deal on the table gives firefighters one of the most generous pension schemes in all the public sector.” He added: “I would like to reassure the public that there are robust contingency arrangements in place.”