Firefighters due to strike tomorrow

First published in News Bromsgrove Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

MEMBERS of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) are due to take part in strike action on two separate occasions this month, with the first set to begin tomorrow.

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service confirmed the first part of industrial action was to take place between 9am tomorrow and 9am Friday.

The second part of the strike will take place between 10am and 5pm on Saturday, June 21.

A dispute relating to proposed changed to firefighters' pensions between the FBU and central government has led to the action.

Area Commander Keith Chance, head of operations support for the service, said: “While the industrial action is ongoing we will still be responding to 999 calls but we will be asking members of the public to take extra steps to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out in their home.

“This is the first 24-hour strike being taken by the FBU during this dispute and we appreciate that members of the public may be concerned by this. However, I would like to reassure them that we will have plans in place to cover this strike period.”

A spokeswoman for the fire service said: “This is obviously a serious situation, both for the service and for all individuals concerned, and the service hopes that there will be continued dialogue between the union and government over the coming days to prevent strike action taking place.

“If strike action takes place on these dates it will result in a significant reduction of the service’s available resources.

“This reduced fire cover is likely to provide a basic service and will aim to prioritise the most urgent calls ahead of other responses.

“This plan was invoked during periods of industrial action last year and earlier this year.”

Comments (11)

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9:01am Wed 11 Jun 14

Bcfc1186 says...

Yet more evidence of the public sector's arrogance and belief that the effect of a global financial crisis should effect all but them.
Yet more evidence of the public sector's arrogance and belief that the effect of a global financial crisis should effect all but them. Bcfc1186
  • Score: -6

12:55pm Wed 11 Jun 14

SlipperyWhenWet says...

Presumably Bcfc1186 would have everyone take part in a 'race for the bottom' where all workers T&C's are devolved to the lowest common denominator - at which point the Government has got what it wants; a social underclass that they can manipulate and continue to tread on whilst looking after their business and poilitical allies. The comment made suggests he/she knows little about the dispute, the reasons behind it or the landscape in which it has been caused. The ripping up of existing pension arrangements and their replacement with those that only benefit one side financially (the Government) but have implications for public safety courtesy of a change in normal pension age are not conducive to an effective emergency service. 'Work longer (into an age where operational response is compromised), pay more (they're already paying one of the highest pension premiums @ 12.2% of pensionable income) and get less on retirement (with massive penalties for going arly under any circumstance)' coupled with huge cuts in central/local funding are likely to result in one thing; a higher risk to the communities served!
When Benefit fraud costs the UK over £1 Billion per annum and tax avoidance £5 Billion plus, it would be far more sensible for the Government to tackle these first before making swathes of cuts that fundamentally affect public safety and the lives during service and post-retirement of those individuals willing and capable of risking their own lives for the safety and security of others.
I note today that a report criticises the move away from a fully funded and appropritely staffed full time armed forces in favour of a larger 'reservist' contingent. 70 years on from D Day, would the respondent feel that this is appropriate due to the 'global financial crisis'? I imagine not if we find ourselves under military or other threat requiring a military response - therefore why should the Fire and Rescue service be any different? When you require an emergency response you want to know it is there, immediately, appropriately funded (in all aspects) and populated with well trained, motivated and young/fit enough to rescue you, your family, your belongings, your livelihood etc etc.
We are NOT 'all in it together', that is a political myth; unfortunately there are those that would prefer to swallow the political spin rather than do their own homework.
Presumably Bcfc1186 would have everyone take part in a 'race for the bottom' where all workers T&C's are devolved to the lowest common denominator - at which point the Government has got what it wants; a social underclass that they can manipulate and continue to tread on whilst looking after their business and poilitical allies. The comment made suggests he/she knows little about the dispute, the reasons behind it or the landscape in which it has been caused. The ripping up of existing pension arrangements and their replacement with those that only benefit one side financially (the Government) but have implications for public safety courtesy of a change in normal pension age are not conducive to an effective emergency service. 'Work longer (into an age where operational response is compromised), pay more (they're already paying one of the highest pension premiums @ 12.2% of pensionable income) and get less on retirement (with massive penalties for going arly under any circumstance)' coupled with huge cuts in central/local funding are likely to result in one thing; a higher risk to the communities served! When Benefit fraud costs the UK over £1 Billion per annum and tax avoidance £5 Billion plus, it would be far more sensible for the Government to tackle these first before making swathes of cuts that fundamentally affect public safety and the lives during service and post-retirement of those individuals willing and capable of risking their own lives for the safety and security of others. I note today that a report criticises the move away from a fully funded and appropritely staffed full time armed forces in favour of a larger 'reservist' contingent. 70 years on from D Day, would the respondent feel that this is appropriate due to the 'global financial crisis'? I imagine not if we find ourselves under military or other threat requiring a military response - therefore why should the Fire and Rescue service be any different? When you require an emergency response you want to know it is there, immediately, appropriately funded (in all aspects) and populated with well trained, motivated and young/fit enough to rescue you, your family, your belongings, your livelihood etc etc. We are NOT 'all in it together', that is a political myth; unfortunately there are those that would prefer to swallow the political spin rather than do their own homework. SlipperyWhenWet
  • Score: 15

4:25pm Wed 11 Jun 14

Andy-Apache says...

I'm no pensions expert, but neither are you by the sound of things so...

1) It is not a race to the bottom. Remember British Leyland, whose assembly line workers figured they should be paid as much as the boss? That worked out well eh?

2) They pay a lot into their pension so they can retire early. If they didn't retire early, they wouldn't pay so much per month. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

3) No.2 is a choice they made. Did it come as a surprise? Really??

4) Stop spreading the BS that they 'risk their lives for others'. The job carries risk, yes, but it's a calculated acceptable risk bound by H&S guidance. Apparently you're more likely to be injured or killed driving a taxi or HGV.

5) I'm guessing there *could* (and probably should) be some sort of re-deployment policy put in place for those who are unfit at the current retirement age to continue in a forward role.

5) Benefit fraud *is* being tackled, in a more direct way than the red side managed - albeit not as directly as I'd like, but show me a government with the kahunas to stamp it out immediately? certainly Labour! (same goes for tax avoidance - again, not as swiftly as I'd like)

6) The Fire Service are NOT the Armed Forces. Not by a LONG chalk!
I'm no pensions expert, but neither are you by the sound of things so... 1) It is not a race to the bottom. Remember British Leyland, whose assembly line workers figured they should be paid as much as the boss? That worked out well eh? 2) They pay a lot into their pension so they can retire early. If they didn't retire early, they wouldn't pay so much per month. Seems pretty straightforward to me. 3) No.2 is a choice they made. Did it come as a surprise? Really?? 4) Stop spreading the BS that they 'risk their lives for others'. The job carries risk, yes, but it's a calculated acceptable risk bound by H&S guidance. Apparently you're more likely to be injured or killed driving a taxi or HGV. 5) I'm guessing there *could* (and probably should) be some sort of re-deployment policy put in place for those who are unfit at the current retirement age to continue in a forward role. 5) Benefit fraud *is* being tackled, in a more direct way than the red side managed - albeit not as directly as I'd like, but show me a government with the kahunas to stamp it out immediately? certainly Labour! (same goes for tax avoidance - again, not as swiftly as I'd like) 6) The Fire Service are NOT the Armed Forces. Not by a LONG chalk! Andy-Apache
  • Score: -8

5:26pm Wed 11 Jun 14

SlipperyWhenWet says...

It is quite common for people to react to this pension dispute by implying that because 'they' don't have such a good pension, everyone else (particularly those in the Public Sector) should have theirs devalued to bring them in line. It would be a better use of their energy to campaign for improvements to their own pension arrangements rather than attack those of others.
A higher pension premium to allow earlier retirement is fine - if you can then retire early! Bear in mind that early retirement in this profession has a sound basis; it is physically arduous and early death rates post retirement are very high. The fact is that the pension costs are not reducing by the imposition of a higher normal pension age - they are in fact going up, whereas the final pension is being decreased. Hence 'work longer/pay more/get less! It is a straightforward calculation yes; the T&C's are being made worse.
The choice to join the Fire Service is no different to the choice made to work in Tesco, drive a train or become cabin crew; when you join any profession you accept it's terms and conditions, you also expect that your employer will meet their own commitments to you based on the contract you signed. It would be unacceptable for an employee to sign a 42 hour contract, then autonomously decide to only work 35 hours because petrol prices have gone up and saving a day of petrol a week makes personal sense. Put another way; if you went to MacDonalds and paid for a Big Mac, you wouldn't accept a Hamburger because of an Irish beef crisis - that's MacDonalds problem, not yours!
Your 4th point is questionable; statistics can be made to say whatever you like - they are currently being used to justify the proposed downgrade of Fire Cover in H&W. Statistics were also used as a means of downgrading Kidderminster Hospital, which was also folly because Worcester can't now cope with its patient levels. The fact remains that when YOU are running out of your housefire, THEY will be running into it. That doesn't necessarily justify a better pension, but when its your butt on fire it DOES justify an appropriately funded Service to ensure a well resources, well trained and physically able workforce - the pension arrangements are part of that 'deal'. Firefighters die - FACT - and cuts cost lives; thise of the public AND those of the crews.
There are NO redeployment opportunities for firefighters unable to do their job due to 'capability'. In a world of funding cuts the 'backroom' functions have been cut to the bone, the frontline crews are next. Part of the pensions dispute is centred on 'no job, no pension'; anyone failing to maintain the required fitness standard (and where no redeployment opportunity exists - and there aren't any remember!), can be dismissed under 'capability' - in this case they will have no income and their pension payments will be deferred until normal state pension age. That might mean being forced out at 55, with no income whatsoever until state pension age at (rising to) 68! Thats 13 years with no income or access to the pension that has been paid into.
Your final comments show which side of the political line you fall, the point being however that if ANY government tackled the issue with any force there would be no need for any of US to be footing the bill for either the 'Global Financial Crisis' or, better put, the bankers who put greed before ethics supported by their political allies.
You're right, the Fire Service is not the Armed Forces, but they both hold the front line in an emergency. You seem to be suggesting that it would be ok to pillage the pensions of one, but not the other; clearly a daft argument. I think the comparison I made was clear; there when you need them, not if you undermine or destroy them.
In simple terms, its a money-grab from a government that would rather see all of us work until we are dead, paying taxes and pumping money into pension pots for them to spend on other things instead of us costing them anything. The Fire Service pension issue is specific to them, but the tip of a giant iceberg for everyone else.
I don't know what you do for a living, but find a context in your own working life and ask youself; would you roll over and have your tummy ticled, or would you stand up and try to fend off changes that negatively affect you, your livelihood, your family and your retirement period - which you'd probably like to be as long as possible?!
It is quite common for people to react to this pension dispute by implying that because 'they' don't have such a good pension, everyone else (particularly those in the Public Sector) should have theirs devalued to bring them in line. It would be a better use of their energy to campaign for improvements to their own pension arrangements rather than attack those of others. A higher pension premium to allow earlier retirement is fine - if you can then retire early! Bear in mind that early retirement in this profession has a sound basis; it is physically arduous and early death rates post retirement are very high. The fact is that the pension costs are not reducing by the imposition of a higher normal pension age - they are in fact going up, whereas the final pension is being decreased. Hence 'work longer/pay more/get less! It is a straightforward calculation yes; the T&C's are being made worse. The choice to join the Fire Service is no different to the choice made to work in Tesco, drive a train or become cabin crew; when you join any profession you accept it's terms and conditions, you also expect that your employer will meet their own commitments to you based on the contract you signed. It would be unacceptable for an employee to sign a 42 hour contract, then autonomously decide to only work 35 hours because petrol prices have gone up and saving a day of petrol a week makes personal sense. Put another way; if you went to MacDonalds and paid for a Big Mac, you wouldn't accept a Hamburger because of an Irish beef crisis - that's MacDonalds problem, not yours! Your 4th point is questionable; statistics can be made to say whatever you like - they are currently being used to justify the proposed downgrade of Fire Cover in H&W. Statistics were also used as a means of downgrading Kidderminster Hospital, which was also folly because Worcester can't now cope with its patient levels. The fact remains that when YOU are running out of your housefire, THEY will be running into it. That doesn't necessarily justify a better pension, but when its your butt on fire it DOES justify an appropriately funded Service to ensure a well resources, well trained and physically able workforce - the pension arrangements are part of that 'deal'. Firefighters die - FACT - and cuts cost lives; thise of the public AND those of the crews. There are NO redeployment opportunities for firefighters unable to do their job due to 'capability'. In a world of funding cuts the 'backroom' functions have been cut to the bone, the frontline crews are next. Part of the pensions dispute is centred on 'no job, no pension'; anyone failing to maintain the required fitness standard (and where no redeployment opportunity exists - and there aren't any remember!), can be dismissed under 'capability' - in this case they will have no income and their pension payments will be deferred until normal state pension age. That might mean being forced out at 55, with no income whatsoever until state pension age at (rising to) 68! Thats 13 years with no income or access to the pension that has been paid into. Your final comments show which side of the political line you fall, the point being however that if ANY government tackled the issue with any force there would be no need for any of US to be footing the bill for either the 'Global Financial Crisis' or, better put, the bankers who put greed before ethics supported by their political allies. You're right, the Fire Service is not the Armed Forces, but they both hold the front line in an emergency. You seem to be suggesting that it would be ok to pillage the pensions of one, but not the other; clearly a daft argument. I think the comparison I made was clear; there when you need them, not if you undermine or destroy them. In simple terms, its a money-grab from a government that would rather see all of us work until we are dead, paying taxes and pumping money into pension pots for them to spend on other things instead of us costing them anything. The Fire Service pension issue is specific to them, but the tip of a giant iceberg for everyone else. I don't know what you do for a living, but find a context in your own working life and ask youself; would you roll over and have your tummy ticled, or would you stand up and try to fend off changes that negatively affect you, your livelihood, your family and your retirement period - which you'd probably like to be as long as possible?! SlipperyWhenWet
  • Score: 18

5:34pm Wed 11 Jun 14

bmoc55 says...

So the Dinasours (FBU) are on the march again.
They are p***ing into the wind if they really think their actions will change Government policy
So the Dinasours (FBU) are on the march again. They are p***ing into the wind if they really think their actions will change Government policy bmoc55
  • Score: -4

6:00pm Wed 11 Jun 14

harryurz says...

FBU leader Matt Wrack was formerly involved in the far-left Militant Tendency and Trotskyist-leaning Socialist Party.
Its not about pensions, its about dragging his union members into fighting the class war in the time honoured militant tradition of the 1960-70s.

Still, at least there will be plenty of taxis available in the town centre tomorrow
FBU leader Matt Wrack was formerly involved in the far-left Militant Tendency and Trotskyist-leaning Socialist Party. Its not about pensions, its about dragging his union members into fighting the class war in the time honoured militant tradition of the 1960-70s. Still, at least there will be plenty of taxis available in the town centre tomorrow harryurz
  • Score: -15

7:49pm Wed 11 Jun 14

SlipperyWhenWet says...

.....a little bit of political bashing, that'll justify the destruction of Fire Service pensions! It's isn't the FBU forcing unreasonable and unworkable changes through, it's the government! The members are interested on protecting their T&C's, not following the FBU Leadership over a precipice like lemmings.

Also, the 'taxi' comment is hilarious. Hilarious because it demonstrates utter ignorance. (a) I'm not aware of any firefighters driving cabs on their days off (b) if they did then they wouldn't be doing it on a strike date and (c) so what if someone wants to work a 2nd job IN ADDITION to their 48 hour working week and in many cases out of economic necessity- the UK wouldn't be as badly on its backside if everyone had that sort of work ethic. Don't like it?....do the same, find another job in addition to the one you have; enjoy the extra income, compromise your work/life balance.....but it won't make one scrap of difference to your pension pot so it's an irrelevance to this thread!!
.....a little bit of political bashing, that'll justify the destruction of Fire Service pensions! It's isn't the FBU forcing unreasonable and unworkable changes through, it's the government! The members are interested on protecting their T&C's, not following the FBU Leadership over a precipice like lemmings. Also, the 'taxi' comment is hilarious. Hilarious because it demonstrates utter ignorance. (a) I'm not aware of any firefighters driving cabs on their days off (b) if they did then they wouldn't be doing it on a strike date and (c) so what if someone wants to work a 2nd job IN ADDITION to their 48 hour working week and in many cases out of economic necessity- the UK wouldn't be as badly on its backside if everyone had that sort of work ethic. Don't like it?....do the same, find another job in addition to the one you have; enjoy the extra income, compromise your work/life balance.....but it won't make one scrap of difference to your pension pot so it's an irrelevance to this thread!! SlipperyWhenWet
  • Score: 17

10:24am Thu 12 Jun 14

Bcfc1186 says...

I'm not sure that I've ever read such utter rambling nonsense!
I'm not sure that I've ever read such utter rambling nonsense! Bcfc1186
  • Score: -8

10:27am Thu 12 Jun 14

Bcfc1186 says...

SlipperyWhenWet, you seem to have entirely missed the point of the previous 'taxi' comment, which in fact makes your response rather hilarious.
SlipperyWhenWet, you seem to have entirely missed the point of the previous 'taxi' comment, which in fact makes your response rather hilarious. Bcfc1186
  • Score: -8

6:01pm Thu 12 Jun 14

SlipperyWhenWet says...

Explain your taxi comment then, I'm fairly sure I've seen you use it hwfire on this subject....?
That being the case I doubt it was in any way connected with the 'über' demonstration in London - in case you were planning to pass it off as that.
Explain your taxi comment then, I'm fairly sure I've seen you use it hwfire on this subject....? That being the case I doubt it was in any way connected with the 'über' demonstration in London - in case you were planning to pass it off as that. SlipperyWhenWet
  • Score: 9

6:03pm Thu 12 Jun 14

SlipperyWhenWet says...

Bcfc; such rambling nonsense you're unable to respond in any meaningful or cohesive way!
Bcfc; such rambling nonsense you're unable to respond in any meaningful or cohesive way! SlipperyWhenWet
  • Score: 9

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