UPDATED: Firefighters up and down the country, including here on the Isle of Wight, have today issued a further eight day period of strike action as the Government have not improved their pension proposals.
The current proposals in England and Wales are still unworkable and mean that firefighters will still face dismissal simply because they cannot maintain the high physical fitness requirements necessary for their role until they are age 60. The proposals would also mean that if firefighters opt for early retirement, the reduction in their pension would be unacceptably high.
Fire Bridge Union members will strike from Saturday 9th August until Saturday 16th August between midday and 14:00 and between 22:59 and 23:59 – a total of 3 hours a day.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said:
“It is absolutely ludicrous that a government can impose a scheme which means that firefighters will have to ride engines and rescue people from fires up to age 60.
“This is unsafe and unrealistic for both firefighters and the public.
“We know it, and the public know it, but the government will not listen to the evidence based case we have made to them”.
Steve Apter, chief fire officer of the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue service, said:
“These latest strikes come at a time when many families are on holiday and enjoying the sunshine such as family barbeques or picnics.
“Because of the recent dry spell, many areas of grassland will be dry and could easily catch fire from a discarded cigarette or hot ashes.
“I therefore ask everyone to be extra vigilant and take precautions during these latest periods of strike action as although contingency arrangements are in place to provide fire and rescue services on the Island, cover will be limited.”
A range of fire safety information can be found at www.iwight.com/fire.