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UK firefighters to stage more strikes

Firefighters strike

British firefighters have planned strikes on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and January 3 in protest at government plans regarding the retirement age and pensions.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said its members will walk out for five, six, and two hours on December 24, December 31 and January 3 respectively over government plans to increase the retirement age for the workforce and the pension scheme for retired staff.

The FBU also confirmed that all firefighters across England, Wales and Scotland will refuse to work voluntary overtime during the weekend after Christmas.

The Union’s announcement follows a Saturday strike by British firefighters, which was the sixth in recent weeks.

“The Government must stop claiming they are negotiating when they have refused to talk for two months and insist on forcing through proposals that are unaffordable, unworkable and unfair,” said FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack.

He said the government could end the industrial action right away by simply applying common sense and allowing firefighters a “fair deal.”

Wrack had said previously that the members will keep up the pressure for the sake of “public safety” until the British government comes to the negotiation table over the issue.

Under the British government’s new proposals, the retirement age for firefighters will be increased from 55 to 60. Significant reduction will also be imposed on the firefighters’ pension benefits, with those retired or forced out of work at the age of 55 losing about 50 percent of their pensions.

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