England

Firefighters in England walk out in 24-hour strike

Picket line at Leicester Central Image copyright Martin Sands
Image caption Firefighters in Leicester joined this picket line in October

Firefighters across England are on a one-day strike as part of a long-running row over pensions.

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) members walked out at 09:00 GMT on Tuesday, forcing authorities to implement contingency plans.

Householders have been warned to be extra vigilant about fires as colder weather sets in.

Fire Minister Penny Mordaunt said the strike action was "completely unnecessary".

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: "As it gets colder, the temptation is to huddle closer to your heater but that could be a fatal mistake."

This is the 48th period of industrial action since the dispute began. The last strike action, lasting four days, took place at the end of October.

Union officials say that under government proposals, firefighters will have to work until they are 60 instead of 55, pay more into their pensions and get less in retirement.

The plans will leave firefighters at risk of dismissal as their fitness declines into their 50s, the FBU said.

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