Firefighters set for next strike

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union

Firefighters in South Yorkshire are set to strike again amid an ongoing row over pensions, the Fire Brigades Union has announced.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue employees will join others across the country in the walkout, from May 2 to 4.

There will also be a ban on voluntary overtime from May 4 to 9.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said negotiations had been continuing between the union and Department for Communities and Local Government for three years.

But he added: “After three years of negotiations and an intense four months presenting an indisputable, evidence-based case for the need to ensure a pension scheme that takes into account the unique occupation of firefighting, the government is still burying its head in the sand.

“Several members of government were only too keen to praise firefighters during the winter floods, but their words amount to nothing when they simultaneously ignore issues that threaten the future of firefighters and their families.

“Nevertheless, we remain totally committed to resolving the dispute through negotiation, and are ready to meet to consider a workable proposal as soon as possible.”

The walkouts are on May 2 from noon to 5pm; May 3 from 2pm to 2am; and May 4 from 10am to 3pm. The voluntary overtime ban will last from May 4 to May 9.

A SYFR spokesman said: “We are disappointed that more strike dates have been announced and call on the government and the FBU to negotiate an end to this dispute as quickly as possible.

“We are satisfied with the contingency arrangements which we had in place during previous strike periods last year, and will now be reviewing our arrangements in light of the new dates.

“Our 999 response service will be severely reduced during strike periods, so we call on people to take extra care to keep calls low and make sure they have working smoke alarms on every level of their homes.”