FIREFIGHTERS across Hampshire are staging a 24-hour strike today over a ‘false claim’ they say has been made about their pay and pensions.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) says fire minister Penny Mordaunt told MPs that if a firefighter fails a fitness test through no fault of their own, and do not qualify for retirement, they will get a redeployed role or a full pension.
But the union has been told by fire authorities that they would not be implementing the guarantee on the back of legal advice they have taken.
Firefighters have therefore decided to walk out from work this morning from 7am to make the government realise the situation is not good enough.
It comes on the same day crews head to Westminster to take part in a ‘No More Lies’ protest against the statement by Ms Mordaunt, also the MP for Portsmouth North.
The protest will take place from midday at Methodist Central Hall, in Storeys Gate, London.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: ‘Firefighters are justifiably angry with how this government is treating them.
‘MPs, the public and firefighters were completely misled and given a false guarantee in order to pass the legislation.
‘This is wrong.
‘Firefighters will be protesting in parliament to make their voices heard.
‘They will be asking David Cameron what he is going to do to ensure his government delivers its guarantee. We will not accept these lies – If they can lie to firefighters they can lie to anyone and everyone.’
The FBU say the strike is confined to England because the Scottish government have ‘significantly improved’ its earlier pension offer to take account of a concern that firefighters are being unfairly penalised if they retire at 55.
The union adds the Welsh government have also followed suit and improved its offer.
And in Northern Ireland, legislation has been agreed that firefighters should be able to retire with an unreduced pension from 55.