If I may I would like to reply to Mike Hunter’s letter criticising the reasons for the firefighters’ strike.
Firstly, I would like to know if Mr Hunter would be happy to know, if trapped in a serious fire, that members of the team sent in to rescue him were 60 years old, regardless of whether they had passed fitness tests. I know I wouldn’t.
Secondly, did his work colleagues accept their employment knowing the terms and accepting them? I dare say they did, which firefighters themselves did when they joined only to find the government changing these terms after a period of time, 25 years in my case.
Would Mr Hunter accept such changes in his own case or does he fall into the John Prescott “be thankful you’ve got a job” camp?
Thirdly, firefighters have paid between 11% and 13% of their salaries towards their pension so it hasn’t come cheap where other government workers pay nothing towards their own.
Mr Hunter may be happy to reduce everybody’s circumstances to one level therefore creating an equality of misery but that surely is not the way forward.
Firefighters are not asking for anything extra, indeed they have been accepting gradual erosion of their conditions over the years.
All they want is to maintain the pension rights they signed up for, is that so unreasonable Mr Hunter?