Deeside fire-fighters expected to join colleagues from all over Wales in strike action today
Fire-fighters in Deeside will strike for the fifth and sixth times this weekend, between 6pm and 10pm on both Friday 13 and Saturday 14 December.
Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union General Secretary, said:
“It’s now been almost two months since the government has been willing to meet for negotiations despite several invitations from us.
“Until they do and until they start to actually resolve the dispute, we’ll keep up the pressure for the sake of public safety and our members’ pensions.
“In a week when the full details of a £7,600 pay rise for MPs’ — which will also increase their pensions — emerged, firefighters’ anger at the governments unworkable, unaffordable and unfair proposals will be even greater.
“No firefighter wants to strike, but we cannot allow the government’s ludicrous proposals — and outright hypocrisy — to stand. We’ll keep on fighting until the government sees sense and comes back to negotiations.”
Most firefighters take home approximately £1,650 a month and already pay £320 or more a month into their pensions.
From April 2014 this will rise for the third year in a row to over £340 a month (£4,000 a year).
Many firefighters also face a fourth consecutive rise of 2.2% expected in 2015.
On top of this, a large section of firefighters face an additional threat to their pensions as a result of the government refusing to honour long-standing agreements.
As a result, they will not receive the pension they were promised despite paying into their scheme for many years.
The FBU argues that the scheme is one of the most expensive for workers anywhere in the public or private sector.
Evidence suggests that at least two thirds of the current workforce would be unable to maintain the fitness standards required by the fire service beyond the age of 55.
Such firefighters would face the prospect of being dismissed or seeing their pension reduced by almost half.
North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority said they understand the concerns of staff which have led to their decision to strike however, the Authority has a duty and an obligation to ensure that the provision of services to the public remains as unaffected as reasonably practicable.
North Wales Fire and Rescue are urging people to take extra care in terms of fire safety and to help reduce the risk to communities and businesses, safety advice and guidance will be provided via the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service website and social network sites on Facebook and Twitter(#ttakeextracare), as well as through the local news.