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Hundreds of Oxford firefighters walk out on strike
9:30am Saturday 2nd November 2013 in News
A PICKET line was due to form last night outside Oxford’s Rewley Road Fire Station as firefighters across the county walked out on strike.
All of the Fire Brigades Union’s (FBU) 400 members in Oxfordshire who were on duty were last night expected to strike between 6.30pm and 11pm.
The planned strike was called over concerns about changes to conditions which could see the retirement age rise from 55 to 60 and force firefighters out of work if they fail a fitness test.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “It is ludicrous that, after two years of negotiations, the Government has still not sorted out this mess.
“Firefighters are keen for issues to be resolved through discussion, but the Government won’t even listen to its own evidence, which highlights the schemes are unworkable and unaffordable.
“Firefighters want a pension scheme that takes account of the hazardous nature of the job as well as being affordable and workable for them and for the taxpayer. We hope these brief strikes will mean the Government returns to negotiations so we can agree a sensible way forward.”
The fire service was preparing to use non-striking full-time firefighters and on-call personnel to cover the strike, and is set to do the same on Monday morning, when firefighters have said they will strike between 6am and 8am.
Chief fire officer Dave Etheridge urged fireworks event organisers to continue with events planned last night.
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