As part of the British Conservative-led government?s Austerity Programme they have announced plans to make serious cuts in the pension rights of Firefighters in England. After a long process of negotiation failed, the Fire Brigades Union has announced a four day strike beginning on the 30th of October.
The following video from the union and the accompanying statement makes a powerful case for their courageous stand:
?The government is threatening to change firefighters? pension schemes, meaning all members will pay more, work longer and still get less.
Before 2010, firefighters already contributed one of the highest proportions of their salary towards their pensions (11%), and in April this year it increased for the third year running.
Firefighters typically now pay over ?4,000 a year from a ?29,000 salary, and the government has announced they will impose another increase in 2015.
Firefighters will be expected to work until they are 60 however the government?s own report by Dr Tony Williams, published in December 2013, recognises that two thirds (66%) will not meet the current fitness standard.
Firefighters, who are forced to retire at 55 due to a natural decline in fitness, could lose up to half of their pension or face the sack.?