Lincolnshire firefighters to strike again for eight days

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Firefighters in Lincolnshire and across the country will strike again for eight days in August, in a continued dispute with government over pensions.

The strikes will take place for eight days from Saturday, August 9, until Saturday, August 16, between 12pm – 2pm and 11pm – midnight.

Dave Ramscar, Chief Fire Officer at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, said: “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.”

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) say the current proposals in England and Wales are still unworkable and mean that firefighters will still face dismissal if they cannot maintain the physical fitness requirements necessary for their role until the age 60.

The proposals would also mean that if firefighters opt for early retirement, the reduction in their pension would be high.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “It is absolutely ludicrous that a government can impose a scheme which means that firefighters will have to ride engines and rescue people from fires up to age 60.

“This is unsafe and unrealistic for both firefighters and the public. We know it, and the public know it, but the government will not listen to the evidence based case we have made to them.”

Sean Starbuck, FBU national officer, added: “It’s extremely disappointing that we have had to issue more strike dates but the government are simply not listening to our concerns.

“We have a new fire minister but to date she doesn’t appear to have listened to our case. The government still has an opportunity to improve their offer which could avoid the need for action.”

FBU say an improved position meaning that firefighters can retire with more flexibility from age 55 has been considered and costed by the government for more than three months but it has not been offered.

The costings provided by the Government’s Actuary Department and released by DCLG mean firefighters who take early retirement would get a reduced pension of around 10% – 13% rather than the reduction that the government currently proposes.

Proposals incorporating flexible retirement options should be included in an improved offer for the FBU for its members to consider.

No industrial action is being taken in Scotland and Northern Ireland as improved pension proposals are being discussed.