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Firefighters will go on strike in Gloucestershire from noon, May 2

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 24, 2014

Firefighters in Gloucestershire are threatening more strike action next month in protest over pensions, unions have announced.

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Firefighters in Gloucestershire are threatening more strike action next month in protest over pensions, unions have announced.

Negotiations between the Fire Brigades Union and the Department for Communities and Local Government have been taking place for three years.

Since the last strike on January 3, both the union and government have undertaken work examining financial, technical and legal issues.

The strike will take place on Friday, May 2 from noon to 5pm, the day after from 2pm-2am and on Sunday, May 4 from 10am - 3pm.

There will also be a ban on voluntary overtime across England and Wales from 3pm on Sunday, May 4 until noon on Friday, May 9.

In Scotland there will be a ban on voluntary overtime between noon on Friday, May 2 and noon on Friday, May 9.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “After three years of negotiations and an intense four months presenting an indisputable, evidence-based case for the need to ensure a pension scheme that takes into account the unique occupation of fire fighting, the government is still burying its head in the sand.

“Several members of government were only too keen to praise firefighters during the winter floods, but their words amount to nothing when they simultaneously ignore issues that threaten the future of firefighters and their families.

“Nevertheless, we remain totally committed to resolving the dispute through negotiation, and are ready to meet to consider a workable proposal as soon as possible.”

Following the last meeting of the union’s executive council on April 9-10, the union wrote to the minister saying that if they hadn't received any proposals by April 24, they would conclude that the government was unwilling or unable to offer any improvement.

At a recent meeting Treasury officials confirmed that there is no central government obstacle to new proposals from the DCLG.

Over recent weeks the FBU has met with ACAS, the organisation devoted to preventing and resolving employment disputes, where union officials outlined their concerns and frustration with the lack of any progress.

Although during negotiations the Westminster fire minister assured firefighters that he would seek to address the threat of firefighters being sacked merely for getting older, there has been no change in the government’s position.

Recently, the FBU was forced to correct the minister’s claims in the House of Commons that the union had never sought to protect its members from pension changes.

While negotiations were continuing, the government imposed a third annual increase in firefighters’ pension contributions, taking them to 14.2 per cent for most firefighters, one of the highest in the public or private sector, and issued proposals for a fourth year increase for many.

In August last year, firefighters voted by 78 per cent for strike action.

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  • lewipaul  |  April 25 2014, 12:24PM

    These firefighters get a damn good pension at a relatively young age yet are so keen to go on strike and risk peoples lives.

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