Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue take strike action over pension plans.

Fire and Rescue news.
Fire and Rescue news.

The fire service across Lincolnshire are taking part in a national 24-hour strike today (Thursday June 12).

Lincolnshire Fire and rescue have tweetd: “A national 24hr strike started at 9am. In an emergency do dial 999 and we will respond.”

However, they advised the public to take ‘extra care’.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) have officially informed irefighter’s of their intention to commence strike action on Thursday June 12, from 9am to Friday June 13, at 9am and also Saturday, June 21, from 10am to 5pm.

Dave Ramscar, Chief Fire Officer at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue has plans in place to ensure that we continue to provide an emergency response within the county. We accept that any planned industrial action will impact on our ability to deliver business as usual, but we are confident that the implementation of our plans will enable us to continue to answer 999 calls and to respond to incidents as quickly as possible. We continue to remind people to take care when going about their daily business, and that there is further safety advice available on our website and on Twitter @lincsfirerescue.”

As good practice the Service maintains and tests business continuity plans for all eventualities.

Consequently, the Service is prepared to maintain an emergency response to 999 calls during this period of strike action.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue stated: “We are confident that our robust plans will enable us to answer 999 calls and respond to incidents as quickly as possible, but continue to ask members of the public to be fire safety aware.”

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) are strikind sue to what they see as ‘attacks’ on their pensions after the government confirmed it would implement a new scheme without further negotiations.

The 24-hour strike, the longest yet in the three-year campaign is coupled with firefighter’s ‘not carrying out any voluntary overtime’ which, they say is routinely needed by many fire and rescue services to maintain fire cover or conduct training of strikebreakers between the beginning of the first strike and 9am on Sunday, June 22.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: “The minister has decided to bury his head in the sand, but he must accept that firefighters simply will not give up fighting for their futures and our fire and rescue service.

“Concerns over these unworkable proposals remain as valid and grave as ever, and the government has ignored all the evidence including it’s own reports”.

He added: “It is as ever a difficult decision for us to take, but the only way for us to resolve this unnecessary and costly dispute is for the government to start listening to reason.”

The decision to strike was made at a meeting of the FBU’s executive council on Wednesday 4 June.

Before 2010, firefighters already contributed one of the highest proportions of their salary towards their pensions (11%), and in April, this increased for the third year running.

Firefighters typically now pay over £4,000 a year from a £29,000 salary, and the government has announced they will impose another increase in 2015.

The FBU says increasing numbers of members are considering leaving the pension scheme as a result of its decreasing affordability.

Under the government’s proposals, firefighters who are forced to retire before the age of 60 as a result of ageing will have half of their pension taken away.

The government’s own report, published in December 2013 by Dr Tony Williams, found that large numbers of firefighters would be unable to maintain operational fitness until 60.

The two strikes will be the thirteenth and fourteenth over pensions.

The first was on Thursday, September 24.