July 10, 2014
Burnham-On-Sea firefighters holding 15th strike today in pensions row

Firefighters in Burnham-On-Sea are set to join thousands of other public sector workers in a one-day strike today (Thursday) with eight further days of strikes planned next week.

The Fire Brigades Union says firefighters in services across England and Wales will join the strike in an ongoing dispute with the Government over pay and pensions.

The strike takes place today between 10am and 7pm and will be the 15th in the firefighters’ campaign. Further strikes will place betweem July 14th and 21st, as outlined below.

Firefighters in Burnham say they will respond to any serious incidents where lives are at stake.

The FBU has been in an ongoing row over pensions stretching back into last year over proposals to increase the contributions firefighters make to their pensions, which the union says could cost £4,000 a year.

Brent Thorley, the south west FBU secretary, said: "Our main concern is over pensions, but the day of the strike does coincide with that of many other public workers who are planning to take industrial action on July 10th."

"It's disappointing. Obviously, if negotiations were going well with the Government we would not be announcing industrial action, so it is a bit of a Mexican stand-off. I think in Northern Ireland they are approaching a deal and in Scotland they are not striking because they are nearing an acceptable deal. It just seems like the Government in England and Wales, the Government in Westminster, is very reluctant to negotiate a fair deal with us."

The FBU also objects to raising the retirement age to 60, making tough physical tests harder to pass. On top of that it is objecting to proposals which could see firefighters who do not pass the tests being sacked and unable to claim their pension until they reach the national retirement age of 67.

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service says it has "substantial contingency plans" in place to ensure that it continues to respond to emergency incidents.

The eight consecutive day strike will begin on Monday, July 14. The strike times are:

• Monday, July 14: 6am – 8am and 5pm – 7pm
• Tuesday, July 15: 6am – 8am and 5pm – 7pm
• Wednesday, July 16: 6am – 8am and 5pm – 7pm
• Thursday, July 17: 6am – 8am and 5pm – 7pm
• Friday, July 18: 6am – 8am and 11pm – 1am
• Saturday, July 19: 11am – 1pm and 11pm – 1am
• Sunday, July 20: 5pm – 7pm
• Monday, July 21: 6am – 8am and 5pm – 7pm


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