Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Sussex firefighters to walk out on strike today over pensions row
Firefighters will down tools from midday today as part a long-running pensions row.
Union bosses have described the four-hour action, which will affect both East and West Sussex, as a “warning shot” to government paymasters.
The issue surrounds an ongoing dispute in which union officials claim their members could be dismissed without a proper pension if they are unable to pass standard fitness tests before the age of 60.
Fire Brigades Union (FBU) bosses say 85% of members across the country voted in favour of the action.
- Royal Marine convicted of murder named as Brighton's Alexander Blackman
- Two Whitehawk FC players charged with match fixing
- Sussex business winners line up to take top honours
- Severe flooding in Shoreham after River Adur bursts its banks
- Sussex Police Chief Constable announces retirement after 32-year career
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “This initial strike is a warning shot to government.
“Firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions.
Westminster has simply refused to see sense on these issues.”
He added: “It is ludicrous to expect firefighters in their late-50s to fight fires and rescue families.
The lives of the general public and firefighters themselves will be endangered.”
Fire Minister Brandon Lewis described the action as “unnecessary and avoidable” and said the pension on offer to staff IS “one of the most generous public service pensions available”.
He added: “A firefighter who earns £29,000, and retires after a full career aged 60, will get a £19,000- a-year pension, rising to £26,000 with the state pension.
“To get the same pension from a private scheme, firefighters would have to contribute twice as much.”
Both East and West Sussex Fire Service have contingency plans to deal with callouts today.
ESFR has pledged to make use of all non union members.
However, chief executive Des Prichard, has also pleaded with residents for their assistance.
He said: “Whether it is in your home or your workplace, there are ways to reduce the risks of fire. We have created a number of checklists for businesses and individuals to help them stay safe as well as a selection of frequently asked questions.”
WSFR bosses warned they would prioritise “emergencies where there is a risk to life.”
A spokesman added: “This may mean that you wait a little longer for a fire engine to arrive for incidents where there is no immediate life risk.”
MrWrack added: “None of us wants a strike, but we cannot compromise on public and firefighter safety.
Comments are closed on this article.