VIDEO: Picketing firefighters join forces against government plans

Four hours of strike action got underway at noon today (Wednesday, September 25) as Yorkshire firefighters joined forces to protest against planned changes to their pensions.

An estimated 3,000 across the region got involved in the industrial action, with many taking part in pickets outside local fire stations.

FBU branch representative for Doncaster Calvin Dodd.

FBU branch representative for Doncaster Calvin Dodd.

One firefighter, Neil Carbutt, 41, from Westwoodside, has been in the job for 21 years and is currently based at Thorne.

He said: “All fire stations went on strike at 12 for a period of four hours in protest over the planned changes to our pension scheme.

“The government want to increase the contributions quite substantially and also make firefighters until they’re 60 years of age.

“We think that’s unworkable and quite dangerous.

“It’s quite an arduous job we do at times. It’s not day in day out but every now and then we are called out to complete arduous tasks. We think for a 60-year-old firefighters this is unsafe.

“Only 16 per cent of firefighters will still be able to pass the fitness standards required to carry out the job at 60.

“When they find you’re not capable of doing the job they will defer the pension to state pensionable age, 67.

“I joined when I was 19 and I was told that it was 30 years service and now I’m going to have to work another 19 years instead of nine.”

Fire Brigade Union representative for Doncaster, Calvin Dodd, 40, said he hoped the general public understood the reasoning behind the action.

“We don’t want to do it, we’ve asked and asked to come to the table and negotiate, but that hasn’t happened.”