Fire Brigades Union press release
Friday 24 October 2014
For immediate distribution
Fire strikes escalate: Firefighters call four days of strike action to protect pensions and public safety
Firefighters ‘incandescent’ after Westminster government refuses to improve pension plans
Firefighters today announced a significant escalation of strike action, with four days of strikes commencing on 31 October until 4 November.
This follows a refusal from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) refusal to bring any new offer to the table over pensions, despite two months of talks. The strike will begin at 18:00 on 31 October until 18:00 on 4 November.
The union states that it has negotiated in good faith and has taken up every opportunity to make its case and to seek changes to the government’s pension plans, which the unions says are expensive and unworkable.
Despite promising statements from Penny Mordaunt, the Westminster fire minister, it is now clear the government does not want to resolve this dispute and is spoiling for a fight.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Firefighters are incandescent following two months of negotiations which have led to no new proposals.
“Firefighters will not stand by and see our members’ pension rights destroyed by a government which does not give a damn about the safety or wellbeing of firefighters or the long term.
“The public do not want 60 year olds tackling fires. Everyone understand the stupidity of these plans – except government Ministers.
“We remain committed to resolving this dispute in the interests of our members and the public at large.”
The FBU has opposed government attacks on firefighter pensions and the union has presented large quantities of professional evidence to demonstrate the proposals do not take account of the real operational demands or standards of a firefighter’s role. Under government proposals firefighters will have to work until they are 60 instead of 55, pay more into their pensions and ultimately get less in retirement.
Due to the rigorous fitness requirements of the fire service, many of firefighters are expected to be unable to work to 60 and therefore risk losing half of their pension.
The public will also be put at risk with every likelihood that increasing numbers of 60 year old firefighters will be attending the most serious of incidents.
The Westminster government now stands isolated as the ONLY government in the United Kingdom which has offered no new proposals, with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales all putting forward new proposals for firefighters to consider.
Mr Wrack added: “The fact the Westminster government now stands alone in this dispute shows they are ignoring all the evidence and spoiling for a fight. They do not care less about firefighters or the fire and rescue service.”
For more information, contact the press office on 02084 811 505 (will divert) or
1. For national spokespeople contact the press office via the details above
2. For local and regional spokespeople, please contact officials directly via the ‘About us’ and ‘Local contacts’ menus at www.fbu.org.uk
3. High res photos of spokespeople and other images that may be useful editorially are available athttp://bit.ly/FBUphoto4.Northern Ireland have offered a scheme with a lower NPA of 55.5.Scotland have offered a scheme with more protection and a guarantee not to sack firefighters simply for losing fitness as they get older.6.Wales are proposing a much better flexible retirement option7.Following strike action in August a meeting with the DCLG fire minister, Penny Mordaunt, appeared to open the possibility for movement on a number of key issues. 8.Firstly, the Minister acknowledged to FBU negotiators that some firefighters may not be able to remain operational until the normal pension age of 60. This was the first time a DCLG minister had acknowledged this fact in any meeting during the past three years of talks.9. Secondly, the Minister, at a subsequent meeting, informed FBU negotiators that she would be able to deliver a pension regulation which would protect firefighters from the threat of capability dismissals arising from an age related decline in fitness after age 55. The FBU has been arguing for this improvement for many months as a mechanism to address one of our concerns. This approach had previously been completely rejected by DCLG ministers.
Basic pay for a firefighter (competent firefighter) from 1 July 2014 = £29,054
Basic pay for a firefighter in 2010 was £28,199
Firefighters Pension Scheme 1992 (FPS)
1) FPS in 2010 was 11% for salaries between £21,000 and £30,000 a year
So pension contributions were: £3,102
2) FPS in 2014 is 14.2% for salaries between £21,000 and £30,000 a year
That means pension contributions are: £4,126
So the difference compared to 2010 is currently £1,024 a year or £85 a month
3) New scheme would be 13.2% in 2015 for salaries between £21,000 and £30,000 a year
That means pension contributions would be: £3,835
So the difference compared to 2010 would be £733 a year or £61 a month
New Firefighters Pension Scheme 2006 (NFPS)
1) NFPS in 2010 was 8.5% for salaries between £21,000 and £30,000 a year
So pension contributions were: £2,397
2) NFPS in 2014 is 10.4% for salaries between £21,000 and £30,000 a year
That means pension contributions are: £3,022
So the difference compared to 2010 is currently: £625 a year or £52 a month
3) New scheme would be 13.2% for salaries between £21,000 and £30,000 a year
That means pension contributions would be: £3,835
So the difference compared to 2010 would be £1,438 a year or £120 a month
Note the contribution rates increase for other roles, and for London firefighters because their London weighting allowance takes a competent firefighter over the £30,000 threshold. So these figures are ‘at least… £1,000 extra contributions in the FPS’ etc.
William Murphy | Communications Officer
020-8481-1530 | 0782-5635-224
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