Pickets at Doncaster Fire Station

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Firefighters are set to picket at many of the region’s fire station tomorrow (Wednesday September 25) in a row over pensions.

Strikes take place across the country after almost 80 per cent of the Fire Brigade Union voted in favour of industrial action in a ballot that ended earlier this month.

And FBU spokesman Ian Murray has confirmed that pickets will be in place at Doncaster and at the bigger stations in the Humberside region over four hours, noon and 4pm.

Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union General Secretary, said: “This initial strike is a warning shot to government. Firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions. Governments in Westminster and Cardiff have simply refused to see sense on these issues.

“It is ludicrous to expect firefighters to fight fires and rescue families in their late-50s: the lives of the general public and firefighters themselves will be endangered.

“None of us want a strike, but we cannot compromise on public and firefighter safety.”

The government’s own figures have shown that thousands of firefighters could face the sack without access to a proper pension simply because they are getting older.

A recent government review found that over half of current firefighters between the ages of 50 and 54 are no longer able to meet fire and rescue service fitness standards for fighting fires. Beyond the age of 55, two thirds fail to meet the standards.

And although the government has previously claimed that older firefighters could be moved to less physically demanding roles, FBU research found only a handful of ‘redeployment’ opportunities in fire and rescue services, meaning mass sackings would be inevitable.