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Firefighters and police 999 call handlers to strike on New Year's Eve

Members of the Fire Brigade Union and Public and Commercial Services union are both staging walkouts

Firefighters and police staff including 999 call handlers are set to strike on New Year’s Eve, in England and Wales.

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) members will stop working for six hours from 6.30pm, while around 7,500 civilian police workers in London will stop working for 24 hours in a row over pay.

The industrial action on the 31 December will be the eighth strike by the members of the FBU since September in a row over pensions and the retirement age.

The union said the current storms and floods had highlighted the valuable and wide-ranging job firefighters do. A further strike is being held for two hours from 6.30am on Friday.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “Firefighters on duty over the festive period don't have much to celebrate this year and tomorrow's strike will remind the government of the service we provide 24 hour a day, 365 days a year, every year of our careers.

“Nobody wants these strikes but firefighters remain extremely angry over the prospect of being priced out of their pensions and facing the sack owing to the Government's ludicrous pretence that men and women of 60 can meet the same fitness standards as 20-year-olds.

The Government said firefighters will still receive generous pensions and has criticised the strikes.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union called the London strike in protest at a below-inflation 1 per cent rise

Police and community support officers, detention officers in custody suites and a range of administration and professional support staff will also take action alongside emergency call handlers. 

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The Metropolitan Police is not short of money. It does not need to force pay cuts on low-paid staff who help to keep London safe.”

A Metropolitan Police (MPS) spokesman assured the public that “ tried-and-tested” plans are in place for “all eventualities, including industrial action” over New Year's Eve.

He added: “These ensure that critical functions performed by police staff are performed by police officers who are fully trained in those roles.

"To ensure we are able to implement these plans, we stopped granting any further requests for annual leave or days off for officers and staff in a number of key areas for New Year's Eve in mid-December.

“In some cases we've also had to take the very difficult decision to cancel planned days off for officers with certain critical skills or in critical operational areas.”

Additional reporting by PA.