Fire Brigade Union members have 'unanimously' called for industrial action between May 3 and 5

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Firefighters to strike over bank holiday weekend Firefighters to strike over bank holiday weekend

The Fire Brigade Union (FBU) has announced plans to stage a series of strikes next month after talks with the government over changes to pension plans collapsed.

Firefighters' will walk-out on May 2,3 and 4 after the union's general secretary Matt Wrack said they 'unanimously' agreed for strike action which all affect the service across England and Wales.

The strikes will be held from noon on May 2, between 2pm and 2am on May 3 and from 10am and 3pm on May 4.

Mr Wrack has accused has accused the government of "burying its head in the sand" as the union remains in an escalating dispute over proposed changes to pension plans described by Mr Wrack as "unaffordable" and "unworkable".

He also added: "This is not a position any of us wanted to be in regrettably that is where we are as a result of the government's failure to revise proposals we've been seeking since January.

"We’ve been very clear we want to resolve this through dialogue with the government but we're not going to be pushed around and firefighters' are not willing to accept these attacks on their pension scheme."

London Fire Brigade (LFB) has responded to the announcement as "regrettable" and will deploy 27 contracted fire engines across the capital during the strikes.

London Fire commissioner Ron Dobson said: "The announcement from the FBU for fresh strike action is regrettable.

"In London we will of course have contingency arrangements in place but just as before we will be asking people to take extra care to prevent fires from starting.

"We will be doing all we can to remind them to take care when cooking, to make sure cigarettes are disposed of properly and to check their smoke alarms are working, especially over the bank holiday period.

"I very much hope that the government and FBU are able to resolve this dispute soon in order that the Brigade can return to business as usual."

LFB firefighters’ will not attend calls in response to flooding, grass fires, rubbish fires, animal rescued and people shut in lifts. 

Fire minister Brandon Lewis has been in constant talks with the FBU, with the most recent letter to the FBU dated April 23. 

He said: "By calling unnecessary strike action, the FBU has shown it is not serious about finding a resolution to this dispute for its members and stands only to further damage fire fighters’ standing with the public.

"The government has met with the FBU on many occasions, most recently during April, and has remained in ongoing communication to find a solution.

"Only this week, I wrote to the FBU saying proposals are still under consideration and stressed the importance of maintaining an open dialogue on this and other matters.

"The deal on the table gives firefighters’ one of the most generous pension schemes in all the public sector, and the proposals protect the earned rights of a higher proportion of members than any other public sector scheme."

 

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