Firefighters go back to picket lines in further pension action

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, second from left, poses with Tesco staff and Portsmouth food bank volunteers
Picture: David George

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FIREFIGHTERS mounted picket lines again in a fresh 24-hour strike in their long-running row with the government over pensions.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union in England walked out yesterday until 9am today for their 48th period of industrial action since the dispute flared.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service reminded people to take extra care while the strikes are ongoing.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: ‘Firefighters in England are reluctantly calling further strike action as a direct result of the Westminster government’s failure to listen and negotiate over pensions.

‘We’re not going to give up or go away.

‘Firefighters will fight for however long it takes to secure a fair pensions deal.

‘This dispute will not end as long as the regulations remain unchanged.’

Penny Mordaunt, fire minister and MP for Portsmouth North, said the strikes damaged the reputation of the fire 
service.

She said: ‘This strike action is completely unnecessary and we are disappointed by the FBU’s decision, which does nothing but damage the good reputation of the service.

‘The government has worked hard to give firefighters one of the most generous pensions in the public sector.

‘The scheme currently before parliament provides greater ill-health and death benefits than the FBU preferred approach and I believe that the approach we are using will be fairer on all.’