FIREFIGHTERS are warning of further strikes beyond next Saturday’s walk-out saying the Government is continuing “to deny reality” in the continuing bitter dispute over pensions.
Announcing the five-hour strike next weekend, Fire Brigades General Secretary Matt Wrack said firefighters “simply cannot be expected to fight fires and rescue families in their late 50s and into their 60s”.
Currently they can take their pensions from the age of 55, but new rules coming into force in 2015 would shift that back to the age of 60.
Mr Wrack said: “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.
“However, more strikes cannot be ruled out if that’s what it takes to protect public and firefighter safety from these ludicrous attacks.”
Fire brigades in Yorkshire say they are confident their contingency plans will prove successful, as they did during last month’s strike.
However they are asking people to take steps to minimise the risk of fires, including regularly checking smoke alarms, saying fewer fire engines will be available on the day.
The Chief Fire Officer for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Simon Pilling, said: “We remain confident in our contingency plans after they were tested, and proved to be successful, during the last period of strike action in September.
“A reduced emergency response will again be inevitable during this next strike action.
“However, we do our very best to provide effective services throughout.”