‘It is not the pay it is a matter of principle’
Firefighters at the fire station in King’s Lynn were on strike this Wednesday for four hours as part of a Norfolk-wide action because of the proposed changes to pensions. The Tory led coalition is proposing to raise the retirement age for firefighters from 55 to 60. Firefighters will be expected to meet the required fitness standard at age 60 or risk being dismissed or forced out of the service with a reduced pension. The reason firefighters retire at the earlier age at present is, of course, because it is difficult for them to continue to meet the fitness requirement as they get older.
The government says they will redeploy older firefighters, but the FBU (Fire Brigade Union) says that this is not so. The government also wants firefighters to increase their pension contributions from 13 – 14%.
‘It is not the pay’, said one firefighter, ‘it is a matter of principle’.
‘We are thinking of the younger men,’ an older firefighter remarked, ‘and we hope that they are going to get active in their union to defend jobs and the service. We think they will!’