Spalding firefighters join protest in London over pensions

Firefighters from Spalding joined thousands in London to protest over changes to their pensions. ANL-150225-165852001
Firefighters from Spalding joined thousands in London to protest over changes to their pensions. ANL-150225-165852001

Firefighters from Spalding were among thousands in London today protesting against what they claim was a “false guarantee” over pensions.

They say the Government repeatedly gave assurances to Parliament that a firefighter, over the age of 55, who failed a fitness test through no fault of their own would receive a full, unreduced pension or a redeployed role.

However, fire authorities and the Fire and Rescue Service national employers have confirmed there is no guarantee.

Bob Machin, FBU representative in Spalding, said: “Firefighters are justifiably angry with how this government is treating them.

“Firefighters were completely misled and given a false guarantee. We pay £450 - 14 per cent - out of our salary towards our pensions. It’s not a small amount out of our wages

“But now any firefighter over the age of 55 who gets sick and cannot work could lose everything.

“That’s why this is such a highly passionate drive.”

The demonstration in Westminster took place during a national 24-hour strike that is due to end at 7am tomorrow.

It is the 66th time FBU members have been on strike since the bitter row over pensions and retirement age broke out two years ago.

Dave Ramscar, Chief Fire Officer at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue have plans in place to ensure that we continue to provide an emergency response within the county.

“We accept that any planned industrial action will impact on our ability to deliver business as usual, but we are confident that the implementation of our plans will enable us to continue to answer 999 calls and to respond to incidents as quickly as possible.

“We continue to remind people to take care when going about their daily business, and that there is further safety advice available on our website and on Twitter @lincsfirerescue.”