Firefighters strikes - eight consecutive days of walkouts planned

This is The West Country: Firefighters strikes - eight consecutive days of walkouts planned Firefighters strikes - eight consecutive days of walkouts planned

PEOPLE are being urged to take steps to ensure their safety at home and at work when firefighters go on strike over eight consecutive days this month.

As well taking industrial action between 10am and 7pm today (Thursday), Fire Brigades Union members are also walking out for 15 two-hour stoppages between Monday, July 14 and Monday, July 21.

Union bosses accuse the Government of trying to impose an unworkable pension scheme on firefighters, while Fire Minister Brandon Lewis has branded the latest in a line of strike action as an unnecessary disruption of a taxpayer-funded service.

Tam MacFarlane, FBU executive council member for the South-West, said Government plans to alter firefighters’ pensions were “unrealistic, unachievable and unaffordable”.

“Currently firefighters pay 14% of their wages into an occupational pension scheme because it’s a physically demanding job and they have to retire at 55,” said Mr MacFarlance.

“The Government plans to increase that to 60 despite evidence showing two-thirds of our members won’t be able to reach the fitness standards required due to the ageing process and no fault of their own.”

He added that the FBU had done everything possible to end the dispute over the past three years, but blamed the Government for “not listening”.

“No firefighter wants to strike – we understand the job we do plus we’ve got families to feed, but we simply can’t stand back,” said Mr MacFarlane.

“We’re not going to simply stand by.”

He said firefighters would turn out in a “major emergency” during any strike period.

A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said the authority has a legal duty to maintain a level of service.

He added: “We will continue to respond to 999 calls and will do everything we can to keep the public safe.

“You can help us by taking extra care and time to think about fire safety in your home during this period - checking smoke alarms, ensuring you know that you would do if there was a fire and not making unnecessary calls to the fire and rescue service.

“Businesses are also reminded to be mindful of their responsibilities, as during periods of industrial action the service may not be able to respond to fire safety enquiries within its usual timescales.”

Mr Lewis accused the FBU of “disrupting a taxpayer-funded service” with “unnecessary” strikes.

He added: “Under the new scheme, a firefighter who earns £29,000 will still be able to retire after a full career aged 60, get a £19,000 a year pension, rising to £26,000 with the state pension.

“Public safety will remain the primary focus and if they need help, people should dial 999 – they will get a response.”

LATEST FIREFIGHTER STIKE TIMES AND DATES.

Monday, July 14: 6am to 8am; 5pm to 7pm.

Tuesday, July 15: 6am to 8am; 5pm to 7pm.

Wednesday, July 16: 6am to 8am; 5pm to 7pm.

Thursday, July 17: 6am to 8am; 5pm to 7pm.

Friday, July 18: 6am to 8am; 11pm to 1am.

Saturday, July 19: 11am to 1pm; 11pm to 1am.

Sunday, July 20: 5pm to 7pm.

Monday, July 21: 6am to 8am; 5pm to 7pm.

DEVON & SOMERSET FIRE & RESCUE SERVICE ADVICE.

*Install a smoke alarm and test it weekly.

*Take extra care in the kitchen, where most fires start.

*Check electrical appliances – turn them off, don’t overload sockets.

*If you smoke, put cigarettes out properly.

*Check everything at home before going to bed.

*Plan a safe escape in the event of an emergency.

Comments (2)

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1:48pm Mon 7 Jul 14

SocialistParty-SomersetBranch says...

Defend firefighters’ pensions – End low pay – Unite to oppose and defeat austerity!

Fight until we win!


The coordinated action over local government pay on 10 July will bring up to 1.5 million workers out on strike from across public sector unions. The 1% 'offer', following a three year earnings freeze, is a pay cut not a pay award.

Typical local government full-time hourly earnings are the same now as in the early 1990s. Part-time hourly wages have fallen to 2002 levels. 8% of full-time and 38% of part-time local government workers earn less than the living wage.

Meanwhile living costs soar through the roof: food bills up by 16%, electricity and gas by up to a staggering 57%. These price rises mean nearly a 20% fall in real wages with pay-day loans and food banks plugging the gaps for the army of working poor. 'Recovery'? Not for us!

Strike against austerity

But this strike and the mood that has led to the coordinated action is also about a whole lot more. We are battling a wholesale jobs massacre as local government is dismantled, jobs are slashed and public services sold off to private profiteers.

If our jobs have so far escaped the axe, we face increased workloads and pressure, and increasingly brutal disciplinary and sickness procedures in stealth job cutting by managers.

Enough is enough

Workers are reaching the point where they feel pushed to the limit by this demolition government of millionaires hell-bent on the destruction of public services.

Those of us who are school support workers in Unison and GMB have gained a massive boost in being able to strike alongside our teaching colleagues. Joint picket lines at school gates, refuse depots, libraries and council offices will, at last, give local government workers a feeling of our own strength.

Not a one-day battle

This fight will not be won on 10 July alone. In building for the ballots the message was clear from union members: this is no time for token one-day action. We demand a determined and escalating battle that delivers us a victory and a first mighty blow to the austerity agenda.

In the planned further action in September, the unions must use every weapon in their armoury. Our members in academy schools, who are not part of the July action, must be given the chance to fight, as should the army of health workers in their pay dispute as our NHS is dismantled and privatised.

The TUC must seize this opportunity and the massive potential it presents. Public and private sector workers alike have waited long enough to unite and fight. The opportunity for a 24-hour general strike could be just a few months away.

Things could move rapidly through 10 July and beyond as a mood of confidence and angry determination ignites among workers and union leaderships must not be allowed to lag behind and dampen the flames.

10 July is the beginning of a fight we must win!

For more information, or to join the Socialist Party, visit: www.socialistparty.o
rg.uk
Defend firefighters’ pensions – End low pay – Unite to oppose and defeat austerity! Fight until we win! The coordinated action over local government pay on 10 July will bring up to 1.5 million workers out on strike from across public sector unions. The 1% 'offer', following a three year earnings freeze, is a pay cut not a pay award. Typical local government full-time hourly earnings are the same now as in the early 1990s. Part-time hourly wages have fallen to 2002 levels. 8% of full-time and 38% of part-time local government workers earn less than the living wage. Meanwhile living costs soar through the roof: food bills up by 16%, electricity and gas by up to a staggering 57%. These price rises mean nearly a 20% fall in real wages with pay-day loans and food banks plugging the gaps for the army of working poor. 'Recovery'? Not for us! Strike against austerity But this strike and the mood that has led to the coordinated action is also about a whole lot more. We are battling a wholesale jobs massacre as local government is dismantled, jobs are slashed and public services sold off to private profiteers. If our jobs have so far escaped the axe, we face increased workloads and pressure, and increasingly brutal disciplinary and sickness procedures in stealth job cutting by managers. Enough is enough Workers are reaching the point where they feel pushed to the limit by this demolition government of millionaires hell-bent on the destruction of public services. Those of us who are school support workers in Unison and GMB have gained a massive boost in being able to strike alongside our teaching colleagues. Joint picket lines at school gates, refuse depots, libraries and council offices will, at last, give local government workers a feeling of our own strength. Not a one-day battle This fight will not be won on 10 July alone. In building for the ballots the message was clear from union members: this is no time for token one-day action. We demand a determined and escalating battle that delivers us a victory and a first mighty blow to the austerity agenda. In the planned further action in September, the unions must use every weapon in their armoury. Our members in academy schools, who are not part of the July action, must be given the chance to fight, as should the army of health workers in their pay dispute as our NHS is dismantled and privatised. The TUC must seize this opportunity and the massive potential it presents. Public and private sector workers alike have waited long enough to unite and fight. The opportunity for a 24-hour general strike could be just a few months away. Things could move rapidly through 10 July and beyond as a mood of confidence and angry determination ignites among workers and union leaderships must not be allowed to lag behind and dampen the flames. 10 July is the beginning of a fight we must win! For more information, or to join the Socialist Party, visit: www.socialistparty.o rg.uk SocialistParty-SomersetBranch
  • Score: 6

1:52pm Mon 7 Jul 14

SocialistParty-SomersetBranch says...

The Somerset branch of the Socialist Party is proud to continue offering full and unequivocal support and solidarity to Devon and Somerset FBU members in your struggle to defend your pensions and other conditions of service, as part of the wider struggle to defend our vital public services.


Defend firefighters’ pensions – End low pay – Unite to oppose and defeat austerity!

Fight until we win!

The TUC must seize this opportunity and the massive potential it presents. Public and private sector workers alike have waited long enough to unite and fight. The opportunity for a 24-hour general strike could be just a few months away.

For more information, or to join the Socialist Party, visit: www.socialistparty.o
rg.uk
The Somerset branch of the Socialist Party is proud to continue offering full and unequivocal support and solidarity to Devon and Somerset FBU members in your struggle to defend your pensions and other conditions of service, as part of the wider struggle to defend our vital public services. Defend firefighters’ pensions – End low pay – Unite to oppose and defeat austerity! Fight until we win! The TUC must seize this opportunity and the massive potential it presents. Public and private sector workers alike have waited long enough to unite and fight. The opportunity for a 24-hour general strike could be just a few months away. For more information, or to join the Socialist Party, visit: www.socialistparty.o rg.uk SocialistParty-SomersetBranch
  • Score: 6

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