Hampshire firefighters go on 24-hour strike today in row over pensions

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FIREFIGHTERS across the Portsmouth area are currently on a 24-hour strike today in an ongoing row with the government over pensions.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union walked out of stations at 9am, with services being reduced until 9am tomorrow.

It follows a series of strike action carried out by firefighters as they fight proposals by the government which would see them having to contribute more money into their pension and retire later.

There are also fears that staff face dismissal if they cannot pass fitness tests, if the retirement age is raised from 55 to 60.

The strike coincides with the start of the 2014 World Cup, and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is reminding fans planning a night out or watching the opening game over a few drinks to be safe.

Assistant chief officer Andy Bowers said: ‘While we always urge people to take care with drinking and driving, there is the added factor that we are likely to be operating at only around 50 per cent of our normal capacity during the strike period.

‘Taking extra care and helping us avoid unnecessary call-outs will allow us to focus the resources we have in the places where they are needed most.’

Mr Bowers added: ‘Give yourself extra time before you drive the morning after you’ve been drinking.

‘It can take up to 13 hours for you to be safe to drive after four pints of lager.’