Firefighters set to strike over pension cuts this Christmas

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FIREFIGHTERS campaigning against government cuts to their pensions will strike on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, the Fire Brigades Union has announced.

The strikes will take place for five hours from 7pm on 24 December, for six hours from 6.30pm on 31 December and for two hours from 6.30am on 3 January.

Firefighters will also refuse to work voluntary overtime during the weekend after Christmas.

FBU General Secretary, Matt Wrack, said: “Firefighters provide a first-class standard of service 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, and these strikes will remind government just how reliant they are on our members' professionalism, commitment and flexibility.

“The government must stop claiming they are negotiating when they have refused to talk for two months and insist on forcing through proposals that are unaffordable, unworkable and unfair.”

On the three dates all FBU members will stop work apart from those working in control centres.

A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue said: “We will continue to respond to 999 calls and will do everything we can to keep the public safe, including during any national fire strike.”

People are asked to check their smoke alarms and emergency escape plans.

The spokesman added: “Businesses are also reminded to be mindful of their responsibilities, as during periods of industrial action the Service may not be able to respond to fire safety enquiries within its usual timescales.

“It remains the responsibility of employers, landlords and other premises occupiers to comply with fire safety law.”

According to the FBU, most firefighters, who take home approximately £1,650 a month, already pay £320 or more a month into their pensions. From April 2014 this would rise for the third year in a row to over £340 a month, with many facing a fourth consecutive rise of 2.2% in 2015.

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