Firefighters across the country are to stage another three strikes in its ongoing row with the Government over pensions, it has been announced.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said its members in England and Wales would be on strike on Friday (May 2) between noon and 5pm; Saturday (May 3) 2pm-2am, and Sunday (May 4) 10am-3pm.
The union said there would also be a ban on voluntary overtime, running from 3pm on Sunday, May 4, until noon the following Friday.
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 firefighting, 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.”
The FBU has staged a series of strikes – the last on January 3 – following a review into pensions and a proposal that the pension age for firefighters was increased from 55 to 60 – an age the FBU says would prevent firefighters from being able to do their jobs.
Following the latest negotiations on April 9 and 10, the FBU said it wrote to the Government saying that if it hadn’t received any new proposals by April 24, it would “conclude that the government was unwilling or unable to offer any improvement”.
The FBU claimed a return letter from fire minister, Brandon Lewis, did not present any new proposals and, as a result, decided to take further industrial action.
Chris Strickland, Deputy Chief Fire Officer at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said the service has back up plans in place to ensure it can still answer 999 calls.
He said: “We have attended all 999 calls made during the previous periods of industrial action last year and we are now putting in place our robust contingency plans to ensure we have sufficient emergency cover next week.
“We are working hard to maintain a good level of service to the communities of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Quite a few of our rural stations will be available as normal and we will crew stations in urban areas with operational officers from station commander right up to chief fire officer.
“The public can help us by being extra cautious to reduce the chances of a fire or road traffic collision happening.”