Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/814/18757
The Socialist 11 June 2014 |
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Firefighters to walk out for 24-hours
The FBU union plans a 24-hour strike across England and Wales to protect firefighters' pensions, following 12 shorter strikes since September 2013.
The strike is planned for Thursday 12 June, to be followed by a walkout from 10am-5pm on Saturday 21 June. There is also a voluntary overtime ban between the two strikes, and strikers will refuse to train strikebreakers.
Salford FBU fire station rep Paul Davies spoke to the Socialist:
"All that's on the table now is the original offer that [Tory fire minister] Brandon Lewis came out with when the changes to pensions were first proposed. He plans now to impose those changes in 2015 with no further negotiations. So this 24-hour strike is a step in the right direction as far as I'm concerned.
Pension contributions have already gone up, a staged progression of contribution rises over the past 18 months. And they'll continue to go up.
On top of that, the pension age has been raised to 60 from 55. The pension that you're going to get will be less. In simple terms we'll be putting more in, getting less out and having to work longer to get it.
Every strike up to now has been absolutely solid among the membership. I think there's quite a big appetite for a fight in our brigade.
When you speak to people about the strike the support's been really good. They look at it in simple terms - you can't expect a fireman to work until they're 60 and they're right.
There's also a massive cuts agenda going on in our brigade as well. A victory on pensions would get the confidence up, get on the front foot again and start to change things round.
It'll be good for unions to link industrial action up more with other unions who are facing attacks as well - like on 10 July.
We're having a demo on 12 June, the day we're out on strike, in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester, with speakers from the FBU and other unions, starting at 12.30pm."