This weekend’s unnecessary strike action shows the FBU is not serious about finding a resolution to this dispute for its members and will only serve to damage firefighters’ standing with the public. As with previous strike action, robust contingency plans are in place to ensure the safety of the public at all times.
The government has met with the FBU on many occasions, most recently during April, and has remained in on-going communication to find a solution. In addition, the Fire Minister wrote to the FBU saying proposals were still under consideration and stressed the importance of maintaining an open dialogue.
The deal on the table gives firefighters one of the most generous pension schemes in all the public sector, and the proposals protect the earned rights of a higher proportion of members than any other public sector scheme. Nearly 3 quarters will see no change in their pension age in 2015. Under the new scheme, a firefighter who earns £29,000 will still be able to retire after a full career aged 60, get a £19,000 a year pension, rising to £26,000 with the state pension. An equivalent private pension pot would be worth over half a million pounds and require firefighters to contribute twice as much.