Fighfighters prepare for more strike action

Oxford Mail: Firefighters are preparing to walk out for the second time in 24 hours Firefighters are preparing to walk out for the second time in 24 hours

A SENIOR firefighter said he cannot condone strike action in Oxfordshire as Fire Brigades Union (FBU) members prepare to walk out for the second time in 24 hours, but added that he understood their concerns.

Firefighters will strike over proposed changes to pay and pensions which means they could face having to work until they are 60 and pay more into their pension schemes.

Members of the FBU are concerned that older firefighters could be struck off without a pension if they fail fitness tests later in their careers.

Oxfordshire’s deputy chief fire officer Nathan Travis said: “There is no way I can condone strike action, but I understand the situation and the concerns they have.

“We have had firefighters in Oxfordshire who have worked until after they were 60, in fact one of our staff recently retired at the age of 63.”

He said strike action between 6pm and 10pm tonight, like the planned walkout last night, would see 20 engines staffed by non FBU members and other staff, compared to 34 engines which are normally on duty.

He said emergency calls would be answered and responded-to, adding: “We will be managing it as we have managed previous strike action.”

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In a statement, FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “It has now been almost two months since the Government has been willing to meet for negotiations despite several invitations from us.

“Until they do and until they start to actually resolve the dispute, we’ll keep up the pressure for the sake of public safety and our members’ pensions.”

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