February 26, 2015
Burnham-On-Sea firefighters travel to Westminster in pensions protest

20 firefighters from Burnham-On-Sea and Bridgwater joined a huge rally in Westminster on Wednesday (February 25th) to protest about changes to their pension scheme.

The rally of over 2,000 people was organised by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) to coincide with a 24-hour strike across England, which also saw the service cut in Burnham-On-Sea.

The FBU says changes to pensions and the retirement age are "unworkable". A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said the strike was "unnecessary" and contingency plans were in place to deal with emergencies.

Local fireman Pete Nicholson told "20 firefighters from Burnham and Bridgwater travelled up by coach to be a part of the Westminster rally - there are some strong feelings about the pensions and we wanted to join in."

The FBU has accused fire minister Penny Mordaunt of misleading Parliament. In a recent debate she told MPs that if a firefighter loses fitness through no fault of their own they should get another role or a full, unreduced pension.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said that firefighters signed up to a pension deal that is being ripped up.

He said: "They are not getting the pension they were promised. The pension changes take no account of the real job that they do, that's physically demanding. And they are paying huge amounts for it, over £4,000 a year on a salary of less than £29,000 a year."

"That's one of the most expensive schemes in the public or private sector for a scheme that doesn't even promise they'll get paid anything in the end."

The FBU says firefighters have been on strike over 50 times since September 2013. The last strike action was in December.

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