FIREFIGHTERS in Wigan are today on strike during one the busiest periods of the year.
Crews from stations in Wigan, Hindley, Atherton and Leigh walked out on Friday evening at 6pm and will not return until Tuesday (November 4) at 6pm.
The move is in protest over pensions and the retirement age being raised to 60.
But a spokesman for the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said that there will be contingency plans and crews, which are part of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, will return to duty if there is an emergency.
Kevin Brown, executive council for the North West FBU said: “The dispute is about government proposals that firefighters should work up until the age of 60 and at least two thirds of firefighters will not be able to do that and so they will be sacked.
“Firefighters will be dismissed and won’t be able to get a pension until much later in life.
“We had a new minister in July – Penny Mordaunt – and she said she would look into the issue but unfortunately after weeks of talks what has been on the table still remains.
“The borough won’t have professional firefighters on duty to cope with all the emergencies we deal with. But in the event of a very serious incident local fire service members will return to duty.”
The news comes as NHS workers in the borough including nurses and midwives, are to stage a new four-hour strike on 24 November over the government’s decision not to accept a recommended one per cent pay rise.