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Fire Strike Due to Hit Cornwall

Firefighters in Cornwall
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9:26am 3rd November 2013
(Updated 9:26am 3rd November 2013)

Cornish fire crews are going on strike.

They are walking out for four and a half hours from 6.30pm on Friday evening.

It is the first of two taking place in the run up to bonfire night.

The row is over plans to raise the retirement age of crews and how much they pay into their pensions.

The FBU went on strike last month but called off another stoppage when a deal appeared to be in sight.

But officials said the Government and fire employers failed to offer guarantees on jobs or pensions as a result of changes to the pension age from 55 to 60.

Mike Tremellen from the Fire Brigades Union in Cornwall said: "If the proposals go ahead then firefighters will be required to work till they're sixty.

"However, if the firefighter fails to achieve the right fitness level, say at 57 or 58, they won't go out on an ill health pension like they do at present. They'll be sacked and the pension will be deferred until state pension age. That's something that we can't accept.

"No one wants to take any action of this sort. Strike action really is the last resort. But the prospect of being sacked because you can no longer climb up a ladder or wear breathing apparatus because you're 58, 59 years old - that's completely unacceptable."

Cornwall's Chief Fire Officer Des Tidbury said: “During the previous period of strike action in September, the conduct of all of our staff, both those taking action and those working, was exemplary throughout.

"The contingency plans that we put in place alongside the huge efforts made by those not taking strike action, kept Cornwall protected and safe throughout the duration. This was by no means a simple task and only highlights the dedication and determination of all Cornwall’s fire fighters.

"Once again, we have contingency plans in place to maintain minimum levels of cover during the next period of strike action. The most important thing to remember is that if you do have a fire, get out of the building, stay out and call 999 – you will get an emergency response. We will continue to respond to emergency calls and will obviously prioritise those where lives are at risk. Public and fire fighter safety remains of paramount importance and we will give the best service to the people of Cornwall within the limitations of the resources available to us.

"I would urge everyone to take extra care and time to think about fire safety in their home during this period - check smoke alarms; ensure you know what you would do if there is a fire and do not make unnecessary calls to the fire and rescue service.”

9:26am 3rd November 2013

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