Firemen join English strikes

A fire in Fraserburgh in 2013.
A fire in Fraserburgh in 2013.

Firefighters in Scotland joined colleagues in England and Wales taking industrial action today in a long running dispute over pensions on Christmas eve.

The action in Scotland took the form of a refusal to undertake voluntary overtime.

FBU General Secretary, Matt Wrack, said: “Firefighters on duty over the festive period don’t have much to celebrate this year and today’s action will remind the Scottish government and Westminster of the service we provide 24 hour a day, 365 days a year, every year of our careers.

“It is true that we have made progress on some issues in Scotland. That is why we have not seen strike action in Scotland so far. But firefighters remain extremely angry over the prospect of being priced out of their pensions and the Scottish government is proceeding to impose unaffordable increases in the costs of our pensions. Many other are seeing the pension agreement they signed up to ripped up. That is a disgrace.”

The union says most firefighters who take home approximately £1,650 a month already pay £320 or more a month into their pensions, and from April 2014 this would rise for the third year in a row to over £340 a month (£4,000 a year), with many facing a fourth consecutive rise of 2.2% in 2015.