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Firefighters set to strike next week in dispute over pensions
2:35pm Friday 11th October 2013 in News
FIREFIGHTERS across Dudley and Sandwell will be striking again next weekend as part of a national dispute.
The Fire Brigades’ Union has announced its members will walk out for five hours between 6.30pm and 11.30pm on Saturday October 19.
The industrial action has been called as the row over pensions and safety practices between firefighters and the Government continues.
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.
“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.”
The FBU claims Government figures show that thousands of firefighters could face the sack without access to a proper pension simply because they are getting older.
Mr Wrack said he hopes next Saturday’s strike will persuade the Government to discuss the concerns of firefighters.
But he added: “However, more strikes cannot be ruled out if that’s what it takes to protect public and firefighter safety from these ludicrous attacks.”
West Midlands Fire Service will be putting contingency plans into place to cover the five-hour strike.
During industrial action on Wednesday, September 25, managers worked with the army to ensure public safety.
Area Commander Paul Burnham, head of emergency response for WMFS, said: “We’ll be providing all the protection we can with the staff we have available during the strike - but this will be a reduced service.
“We are also asking people to take extra care whether they’re at home or out and about.”
He added: “Vigilance and commonsense can make the difference between needing to call 999 or not.”
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