UK

Firefighters' next pension strike to be on 25 February

Sign outside Euston fire station in May 2014 Image copyright PA

Firefighters in England say their next one-day strike in the long-running dispute with the government over pensions will be on 25 February.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) accused ministers of offering an "unworkable" guarantee to protect firefighters aged over 55 who fail fitness tests "through no fault of their own".

The government said it had been "clear" that the staff would get full pensions.

It said "robust" plans were in place to protect the public during the strike.

In December, MPs approved plans to make firefighters in England work until they are 60 and to increase their pension contributions.

Fire minister Penny Mordaunt said no firefighter over 55 would lose their job for losing fitness if it was not their fault.

'Unbelievably angry'

But the FBU says it has contacted fire authorities and "a number" said they would not uphold the guarantee.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack claimed: "It is clear that when Penny Mordaunt gave the guarantee in Parliament she would have been aware that no fire authority ever planned to implement the 'guarantee'."

He said Ms Mordaunt had "misled" fire service staff and Parliament, and firefighters were "unbelievably angry with the disgraceful actions of this government".

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said firefighters who "fail a fitness test through no fault of their own and cannot regain fitness with remedial help" would get an "unreduced pension".

The FBU said its members in Northern Ireland had ended their dispute following a "revised and improved offer with a lower pension age".

It said members in Scotland and Wales would not strike because "genuine negotiations" had taken place.

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