Firefighters walk out in pensions row.

Source: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-24923370

13 November 2013
Last updated at 10:55amGMT
Firefighters in England and www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-24920610 have gone on strike for the fourth time in a row over pensions.


Fire Brigades Union (FBU) members walked out at 10:00 GMT for
four hours, forcing brigades to use contingency plans, including hiring
contractors.
It said firefighters forced to retire before 60 due to declining fitness could now receive about £9,000 a year.


Fire minister Brandon Lewis said firefighters would still get "generous" pensions.


Previous government proposals on pensions were withdrawn
because of the failure to reach agreement, and the FBU said the
coalition planned to "punish" firefighters who are forced to retire at
55.
General secretary Matt Wrack said: "After 35 years of
service, and paying at least £4,000 a year, firefighters could now
receive just over £9,000 a year or the sack simply because fitness
declines as they get older.
"Firefighters simply want an affordable and workable pension that reflects the job we do."


Mr Lewis said: "The FBU's fourth strike day contradicts its
claims to want to resolve this dispute through negotiation and further
damages the good reputation of firefighters with the public.
"Firefighters will still get one of the most generous public pension schemes.


"Less than a quarter of firefighters will see any change in
their retirement age in 2015 and more firefighters' pensions are
protected than in any other large public service workforce."