Firefighters to strike for second time

Firefighters on strike outside Wigan Fire Station wave to passing motorists
Firefighters on strike outside Wigan Fire Station wave to passing motorists

WIGAN fire crews will strike for the second time in less than a month as a bitter dispute with the government about pensions rumbles on.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in England and Wales will take industrial action for five hours from 6.30pm on Saturday, October 19.

Emergency crews consisting of auxiliary officers attended 11 incidents across the region - one in Wigan - during the four hour strike on September 25.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) had been training stand-in officers in preparation for the strike and a similar contingency plan is expected for the latest action.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “We had hoped our first strike was enough to show government that firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions.

“No firefighter wants to strike ... but they cannot be expected to fight fires and rescue families in their late 50s and into their 60s.

“We hope this second strike will mean both governments (in Westminster and Cardiff) will be willing to discuss the full range of concerns that firefighters and the general public have expressed.”

The union argues that many officers who do not meet the force’s fitness requirements in the latter stages of their career may potentially miss out on full pensions as a result.

And those changes to pensions and the retirement age will see thousands of firefighters lose their job “simply for getting older”.

Fire minister Brandon Lewis MP has maintained that fire service pensions are one of the most generous in the public sector.

A rubbish fire on Viscount Road, Marsh Green, was the call-out during the first strike.