FIREFIGHTERS are striking twice daily into the weekend as part of their ongoing dispute with the government over pensions.

Strikes started on Saturday and will take place every day this week, up to and including August 16, between noon and 2pm and between 10.59pm and 11.59pm.

The national Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is fighting Government plans to increase the amount firefighters pay towards their pensions and raise the retirement age.

Contingency crews for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service attended two incidents during the strike on Monday night, a gas leak and a small fire.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service contingency crews attended one incident during the lunchtime strike yesterday (Tuesday): a person locked out of their home, with a grill on inside the property.

A spokesman for the service thanked the public for "ongoing vigilance."

The FBU says firefighters typically pay more than £4,000 per year towards their pensions from a £29,000 salary, set to increase in 2015.

The union has deemed the changes "unfair, unworkable and unaffordable".

The Government has said the deal is “fair and gives firefighters one of the most generous pensions in the public sector."

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "The equivalent private pension pot would be worth over half a million pounds and require firefighters to contribute twice as much.”

Labour county councillors, meanwhile, are challenging proposals by West Sussex County Council and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to make £1.6 million of cuts from the service to cope with a Government funding shortfall.

Labour county councillor Michael Jones, Southgate and Crawley Central, said: "The cuts proposed are just a figure the Tory leadership have set, not necessarily what is safe or more efficient.”

The consultation is due to end on August 23.

Country Fire Officer Sean Ruth and Lionel Barnard, cabinet pember for public protection, say the service wants to emphasise prevention work.

In the consultation document, they add: “We will always respond to emergencies and firefighters will continue to be trained and equipped to the highest standards to deal with a wide range of incidents.”

Labour councillors are holding a meeting on Thursday August 21 at the Civic Hall, Crawley Town Hall, The Boulevard, RH10 1UZ, to discuss the cuts.