Lincolnshire firefighters in renewed strike action

A number of firefighters at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue will take part in a national strike action.

The local team confirmed that it will strike on November 1 between 6.30pm and 11pm, and November 4 between 6am and 8am.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) announced on October 25 that despite talks last week which led to previous action being postponed, the Government nor employers were unable to offer “firm guarantees”.

Due to the strike plans only being positioned, the FBU have informed members that the strike will go ahead as previously planned.

Dave Ramscar, Chief Fire Officer at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue has been officially informed by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) of their intention to commence strike action on Friday November 1 from 6.30pm until 11pm and on Monday November 4 from 6am until 8am.

“Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue has plans in place to ensure that we continue to provide an emergency response within the county.

“We accept that any planned industrial action will impact on our ability to deliver business as usual, but we are confident that the implementation of our plans will enable us to continue to answer 999 calls and to respond to incidents as quickly as possible.

“We continue to remind people to take care when going about their daily business, and that there is further safety advice available on www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/lfr and on Twitter @lincsfirerescue.”

Pensions dispute

The strike action is part of a fallout over pensions and the age at which a firefighter should retire.

Firefighters and the union would prefer for staff to retire at 55 with their full pension rather than the required age of 60.

Talks indicated that firefighters can retire on a full pension between 55 and 60 if they are deemed not fit enough anymore and another role cannot be found for them.

If a firefighter chooses to retire early due to fitness levels though, they will not receive the full pension.

However, while these offers are being discussed, no-one is able to give firefighters a guarantee.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary said: “The FBU has been very reasonable, but we are now faced with broken promises and those in power evading their responsibilities.

“Firefighters face the sack towards the end of their career and the loss of their pension. That can’t be right.

“The employers promised to tackle the issue of firefighters facing the sack for failing fitness tests last week, only to say they can’t offer any guarantees this week. That is simply not the way to run a public service.

“[The government’s] own Williams report shows most firefighters cannot work beyond 55. They are trying to bludgeon firefighters into an unworkable pension scheme. We are not prepared to be bullied.

“Firefighters don’t want to go on strike, but we are left with no option when the government and the employers refuse to deal with the problems of their own making.”

The strike will be the second strike in recent months over pensions after a walkout on September 25.

During the strike, 150 county firefighters took part, though contingency plans put in place only had to deal with six incidents, including one traffic accident and two building fires caused by chip pans.