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Gravesend firefighters will strike again this month over pensions dispute

PUBLISHED: 08:59 06 November 2013 | UPDATED: 09:31 06 November 2013

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Gravesend firefighters are set to strike for the third time this month in a dispute over pensions.

Gravesend firefighters are set to strike for the third time this month in a dispute over pensions.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has called the strike in England and Wales for Wednesday November 13 between 10am and 2pm, a fourth strike during its current dispute after claiming the government has worsened its offer.

The union is also holding a ballot for members on taking further action, which will close on December 4.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “Our members enter burning buildings for a living, and will not be intimidated by the government’s decision to worsen their proposals. This latest attack will simply harden the resolve of firefighters.

“Ministers continue to ignore the professional, evidence-based case firefighters have presented over the past three years and refuse to establish an affordable occupational pension scheme which reflects the occupation of firefighting.

“There seems to be little or no understanding of what our members actually do or the standards they are required to meet.”

The union said Fire Minister Brandon Lewis had told firefighters on Friday that he had withdrawn June proposals on firefighters taking their pensions before the age of 60.

The FBU argues that firefighters “are likely to experience a decline in fitness in their 50s, meaning that they would be unlikely to meet the fitness standards required in the fire service”.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) said it will have 27 fire engines based at “strategic locations” and contingency crews will deal with emergencies across the capital during the four hour strike.

A LFB spokesman said: “During the strike and if needed fire engines will attend emergencies including fires in people’s homes, vehicle fires, road accidents and collapsed buildings.

“The contingency plans are not intended to match the Brigade’s day-to-day cover so while strike action is taking place a fire engine may not be sent to less urgent and non-life-threatening incidents.”

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