Firefighters across the EastLondonLines are set to strike for the fourth time in three months on Wednesday, following Westminster’s decision to worsen pension proposals.
Hours before the Fire Brigade Union’s second strike in October, the government withdrew pension proposals made on June 19. As a result, firefighters who are forced to retire at 55 due to declining fitness are now set to lose 41 per cent of their pension.
Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union General Secretary said: “The move was unnecessary and inflammatory, and had moved the situation further away from a negotiated settlement. Although the June 19 proposals were unsatisfactory, they did at least partially recognise firefighters’ concerns over the ‘no job, no pension’ issue.”
Simon Chapman, FBU Borough Secretary of Southwark, said firefighters in Lewisham, where Downham Station is set to close in January, strongly support the strike.
Chapman said: “All the signs are that firefighters in Lewisham will once again be 100 per cent behind the strike.”
Chapman added that picket lines are planned at all fire stations in the city: “The picket line at Downham Fire Station has attracted the most support from the local public who have been campaigning against its closure.”
The strike will begin at 10am and finish at 2pm.
A London Fire Brigades spokesperson said: “As in previous strikes, the Brigade will have 27 fire engines based at strategic locations and contingency crews will deal with emergencies across London during the four-hour strike.”
During the strike, the London Fire Brigade said it would attend to emergencies in the city. However, the Brigade may not attend to non-life-threatening or less serious incidents, as the contingency plans don’t cover all services.
Following the strike on Wednesday, the FBU will also have a ballot for other forms of industrial action beyond strikes and the ballot will close on December 4.
“Our members enter burning buildings for a living, and will not be intimidated by the government’s decision to worsen their proposals,” said Wrack when the fourth strike date was announced. “This latest attack will simply harden the resolve of firefighters.”