Firefighters to stage five-hour strike next week over pensions dispute

They will walk out between 6.30pm and 11.30 pm on Saturday October 19

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The Independent Online

Firefighters in England and Wales are to stage a five-hour strike next week in an escalating battle with the Government over changes to their pensions.

They will walk out between 6.30pm and 11.30 pm on Saturday October 19. The industrial action by the  Fire Brigades Union (FBU) follows a four-hour stoppage last month.

The dispute centres on the pensions paid to firefighters aged over 50 who retire early after failing to meet the required fitness standards.

Matt Wrack, the FBU’s general secretary, said: “We had hoped our first strike was enough to show Government that firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions.

“No firefighter wants to strike, and it's desperately disappointing that governments in Westminster and Cardiff continue to deny reality over pensions costs and the need for a pension scheme that reflects the job firefighters do.

“Firefighters simply cannot be expected to fight fires and rescue families in their late 50s and into their 60s.”

Further strikes could not be ruled out, Mr Wrack added.

Emergency cover will be provided next Saturday by part-time crews who do not belong to the union and in some area trained volunteers could be drafted in.