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East Lancashire firefighters plan Christmas strikes
5:10pm Wednesday 18th December 2013 in News
FIREFIGHTERS across East Lancashire will walk out as part of national strikes over Christmas and New Year.
The Fire Brigades Union has announced more action linked to a row over pay and pensions.
The latest round will see them walk out from 7pm to midnight on Christmas Eve, from 6.30pm on New Year’s Eve to 12.30am on New Year’s Day and from 6.30am to 8.30am on Friday, January 3.
On the three dates all FBU members in England and Wales will stop work apart from those working in control centres.
Also on those dates and including between 7pm on Friday, December 27, and 7pm on Sunday, December 29, all members will refuse to work voluntary overtime.
The union says firefighters’ pension schemes are among the most expensive for workers anywhere in the public or private sector, but among the cheapest proportionally for the government.
FBU Lancashire branch secretary Steve Harman said: “As the dispute goes on, the resolve seems to be getting stronger.
“The comments coming out of the Government are angering our members, especially the suggestion by the minister that the FBU has walked away from negotiations. This is simply not the case.
“We know the pension scheme will fail if changes are not made.
“Younger members will not be able to afford to pay the contributions, which will take 13 or 14 per cent of their salary.”
Mr Harman said if the talks were unsuccessful then future strikes were inevitable.
He said: “The fight is going to continue until we get what we see as a fair and sustainable pension scheme.”
Chief Fire Officer for Lancashire Chris Kenny said: “This is a national dispute – not a dispute between Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and our firefighters.
“We do have a significant number of our staff who have given a commitment to maintain emergency cover and as a result the public can be reassured that the service plans to keep the majority of fire engines in Lancashire operational during the dispute.
“However, be aware that for minor fires in particular, there may be a longer wait for a fire engine.”
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