Firemen call three strikes

Firemen are to strike on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and January 3 2014.
Firemen are to strike on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and January 3 2014.
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South Holland is facing more strike action by firemen in their ongoing dispute with the Government over pensions reform.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has voted to strike from 7pm until midnight on Christmas Eve, from 6.30pm until 12.30am on New Year’s Eve and from 6.30am until 8.30am on January 3 2014.

It brings the number of strikes called since September to nine as FBU members protest against plans to make firemen work until they are 60, with claims by the union that any who fail to meet the fitness standard required risk being sacked or having their pensions cut by almost half.

Phil Coates, chairman of East Midlands FBU which includes Lincolnshire, said: “We need to get some movement from the Government to allow firefighters to retire before they turn 60 because their own review says it’s not advisable to work to that age.

“But the review also says that pension contributions should go up by more than 14 per cent or over £340 a month which is a massive amount for a firefighter considering what they are paid.

“There are some major obstacles to getting a settlement with the Government but we have to keep fighting.”

As well as strike action, there will also be a ban on voluntary overtime between 7pm on Friday December 27 and 7pm on Sunday December 29.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue has put “business continuity plans” in place to cover emergency 999 calls during the strike, but chief fire officer Dave Ramscar said: “The effects of any industrial action will be felt by us here as it is our firefighters who will be taking part.

“However, plans in place to provide an emergency service to the county.”