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Firefighter strikes: Do you back walkouts in Gloucestershire?

By The Citizen  |  Posted: May 03, 2014

Firefighters on strike at Gloucester North Fire Station

Comments (6)

FIREFIGHTERS are striking across the county this weekend in a row over pensions and they have the support of many people in Gloucester.

The Fire Brigades Union has arranged strike action over three days, starting yesterday, with further walkouts planned from 2pm today until 2am tomorrow Sunday morning, and then again that day from 10am to 3pm.

It is the latest in a long running dispute between the FBU and Government over plans to raise firefighters' retirement age from 55 to 60 and increase pension contributions.

Around 130 full-time staff and a small number of retained firefighters in the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service are FBU members and could support the strikes.

Gloucestershire County Council has made arrangements for potential large scale incidents, including sharing the resources of neighbouring services.

And people on the streets of Gloucester have voiced their support for the strikes. Lucy Curtis, 35, from Gloucester, said: “Firefighters do a really important job and if they have been wronged by the powers that be they should have the right to strike like everybody else.

“If their pensions and job security are being taken away, no-one will want to be firefighters any more.”

Aaron Hated, 30 from Gloucester, agreed, adding: “It’s not unjust at all that they are striking because if firefighters retire early because they’ve been injured they would have to rely on their pension for the rest of their lives.”

Graham Nesbitt, 59, from Barnwood, likened the strikes to action taken by teachers earlier this year. He said: “If they have entered into an agreement with their employer there should at least be some renegotiations.”

Gloucestershire County Council is encouraging residents to avoid making unnecessary 999 calls and to check their fire alarms, and for businesses to keep fire doors closed and enforce smoking policies.

Chief fire officer Stewart Edgar said: “We have contingency plans in place in the county, which have been proven to be effective in previous strikes.

“We would never be complacent however, I would urge residents and business owners to remain vigilant and make sure they do everything they can to stay safe in their homes or workplace.”

Scott Worrall, 32, from Gloucester, said if firefighters feel their pensions are not enough they should have the right to strike like everybody else.

He said: “People become firefighters more for love than money and, like everybody else, they should get what they’re entitled to.”

Andrew Williamson, 33, from Gloucester, added: “Firefighters do a vital service for the public, and they signed up to the job in the expectation that they would get a certain amount for their pension.

“If that happened to other working people they would be striking too.”

Jade Collins, 22, from Gloucester, is against the planned strikes. She said: “It’s selfish that they’re striking over money. If they had any other job I would support the strike but the county needs the fire service.”

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  • JeremyBadger  |  May 08 2014, 9:39PM

    See how the FBU members have been down rating all these comments when they realised that so many readers were supporting the comments made.................stinks of communism to me.

    |   -1
  • IsitJimKerr  |  May 04 2014, 12:43PM

    Unfortunately, these guys have lost the public vote. Led by militant FBU officials, the authorities are fed up with unreasonable demands. I know two firefighters. One, a very close friend openly admits to me that they are on to a good thing. He has four days on, four days off. On those four days off, he's not stuck inside watching Jeremy Kyle et al. no he's out working his bum off getting extra money. Not that he actually needs it. He gets very well paid for what he admits is easy work. A second 'acquaintance' lived near me. When I put to him the points my friend made, he just looked at me for a few seconds, said 'I don't know what you are talking about', then turned and walked away. The argument they use about public safety, in that we don't want a load of sixty year old men running in to a burning house is nonsense. On any one shift, there are a mix of staff from twenty to sixty. While there may be a shortage of light duties, certainly the younger men are most willing to get stuck in. As for their pensions, they are totally protected, and the best in the public service. You would have to be contributing two thousand per month to a private scheme to get the same, and even then, it's subject to market forces. Sorry lads, get reasonable, then get the public's appreciation.

    |   -36
  • GL-FREE  |  May 04 2014, 11:37AM

    Firefighters should be grateful they have a job. Why not sack them all. Then get OAPs in to work for their pensions. That's what will make me sleep soundly at night, knowing when my house is burning down an 80yo will be coming to rescue me! Don't start about OAPs have worked for their pensions. They didn't. They voted for governments to spent their pension money at the time. So no excuses for these old people. Get out and get working and stop expecting the young to support you.

    |   -36
  • honslknjklyt  |  May 03 2014, 3:13PM

    And when firefighters get older 50 plus and are beyond work, should they get a parking fine they will cry - I am only a pensioner, retired firefighter, hero etc..... when they will be richer than most of us. Not much different to many pensioners now.

    |   -33
  • lewipaul  |  May 03 2014, 12:33PM

    Yes go on strike, put peoples lives at risk and then say they do the job for the love of it and not money. Greedy is the word that sums them up.

    |   -36
  • honslknjklyt  |  May 03 2014, 9:50AM

    No sympathy whatsoever. I am a small business owner, underpaid, overworked as many of us are. If we were to be paid minimum wage for every hour that we work, our businesses would sink. I can't afford ANY pension at all, let alone a better one. Where would the sympathy be for business owners like me and millions of others who are working at 1am and doing 14 hour shifts plus each day? None, people would say - get a different job then. Thought these were supposed to be heroes??? Went to be a firefighter to save children from burning buildings? No sympathy at all, they already have it far too good. Retiring at 50 odd???? Peetake that needs stamping on. There are other jobs they could do, admin, phone work, lots of different things, but no, they want the best of pensions and to have a life of riley while we work into our 80s. 30 years more than they.

    |   -35