FIREFIGHTERS will launch eight consecutive days of strikes as unions battled the government over “vicious” pension attacks.

Sussex firefighters will join the nationwide campaign of industrial action starting next Monday.

Around 200 firefighters who are members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will make their way to the picket line from both East and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Services from July 14 to July 21.

Jim Parrott, regional executive council member of the FBU and a Brighton resident, said: “We are feeling no joy from the government and we have put forward all reasonable proposals to them to give firefighters a reasonable and affordable pension scheme.

“The government is ignoring them so we will be stepping up industrial action.”

He added he still has concerns over the services’ ability to cope and keep people safe over during the action.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue said contingency involved using professional crews made up of non-FBU members and retained firefighters.

A spokeswoman for the emergency service said: “We will still respond to emergencies, prioritising where lives are at risk, but cover will be reduced.”

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service also warned of “fewer resources” with life-threatening incidents such as house fires and serious road traffic collisions to be prioritised.

Residents were urged to stay safe and dial 999 in an emergency. Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “The government must realise that firefighters cannot accept proposals that would have such devastating consequences for their futures, their families’ futures — and the future of the fire and rescue service itself.

“We have tried every route available to us to make the government see sense over their attacks.”

l From July 14 to July 17, and on July 21, strikes will run from 6am to 8am and then 5pm to 7pm.

l On July 18 they will again run from 6am to 8am and then from 11pm to 1am. On July 19 strikes will run from 11am to 1pm and then 11pm to 1am – on July 20 they will be held between 5pm and 8pm.