Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in England walked out yesterday, as part of a national strike.

More than a million council and health workers, teachers and civil servants, took industrial action in a display against cuts to the public sector.

Firefighters in Redbridge will then strike on eight consecutive days this month, July 14-21, in their long running row with the government over pensions and retirement benefits.

Fire Minister Brandon Lewis said: "Public safety will remain the primary focus. All fire and rescue authorities have robust and well tested plans in place that include back up support if needed."

The FBU will, today, join trade unions of National Union of Teachers (NUT), Unison, GMB (Public and Commercial Services union) and Unite.

 Firefighters are fighting the added 5 years to the normal retirement age, which moves from 60-65 under new proposals.

Martin Lofthouse, firefighter at Loughton Fire Crew said: “We are having to pay more, to work longer and to get less.”

Firefighters expressed fears that if they failed annual fitness tests as they get older their pension could be delayed to the age of 68.

A 47 year old firefighter said he barely passed new fitness tests, and would have ‘no chance aged 60’.

A spokesman from the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “The deal on the table is fair and gives firefighters one of the most generous pensions in the public sector. Additionally the proposals protect the earned rights of a higher proportion of members than any other public sector scheme.

The fire strikes will take place on: Monday July 14 : between 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 on Saturday July 19; Saturday July 19: 11am-1pm and 11pm-1am on Sunday July 20; Sunday July 20: 5pm -7pm; Monday July 21: 6am-8am and 5pm-7pm.