Firefighters walk out as blazing row over pensions rumbles on

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Firefighters will walk out on strike for the 13th time as a bitter row with the government over changes to their pensions rumbles on.

A 24-hour strike will be held from 9am today (Thursday), followed by another stoppage from 10am-5pm on Saturday, June 21.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said its members would also not carry out voluntary overtime in between the two strikes.

The union said pension changes meant firefighters who were forced to retire before the age of 60 as a result of losing fitness because of ageing would have half their pensions taken away.

Pension contributions are also being increased for firefighters.

The FBU accused the government of refusing to come publish an alternative proposals on pension.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said: “It is as ever a difficult decision for us to take, but the only way for us to resolve this unnecessary and costly dispute is for the government to start listening to reason.”

Simon Pilling, chief fire officer of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are very disappointed that a resolution to this ongoing dispute between the FBU and government has not been found.

“Although we have tried and tested contingency plans, there is no escaping the fact that we will have less skilled resource available during this prolonged period.

“The level of cover and the standard of expertise at our disposal during strike will be significantly reduced, therefore I urge the public to take note of this and do their bit to help us by staying vigilant.”