Region 3 Fire Brigades Union

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Fire minister dodges firefighters at local government conference

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Fire minister dodges firefighters at local government conference

At the Local Government Association conference today, taking place in Gateshead, Westminster fire minister Penny Mordaunt once again refused to answer questions from firefighters over the sham ‘guarantee’ on firefighter pensions.

Firefighters had attended the conference in the hope of having their questions answered over a ‘guarantee’ given in parliament that any firefighter aged 55 or over who failed a fitness test through no fault of their own would receive a full, unreduced pension.

The FBU contacted fire authorities and the national employers who confirmed that they would not enact the parliamentary guarantee.

Andy Noble, executive council member for the FBU in the north east, said: “The fire minister constantly refers to the ‘fire family’ in her speeches and letters however she never seems to want to meet them.

“Firefighters were told one thing in Parliament and then another thing by their employers who all confirmed that they would not implement the ‘guarantee’.

“Firefighters are justifiably angry. More so now that they can never get an audience with the minister, who has now refused to meet the union on three separate occasions demonstrating a complete lack of integrity.”

 

Parliament misled - Prime Minister challenged

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Firefighters demand Cameron take action over lies to Parliament and raise issue with the Speaker

Firefighters have demanded that the prime minister David Cameron and speaker of the house John Bercow take action over the way that MPs were misled by a government minister in a Parliamentary debate on firefighter pensions.

Ministers informed MPs in the House of Commons, prior to a vote on the 2015 firefighters’ pension scheme, that any firefighter over age 55 who failed a fitness test through no fault of their own, would receive a full, unreduced pension.

The ‘guarantee’, initially welcomed by firefighters, turned out to be totally worthless as both fire authorities and the national employers of the Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that they could not guarantee this position. Worse still the biggest employer in England, the London Fire Brigade, confirmed that they had actually advised the government of this before the debate.

In a letter to the prime minister Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, reiterated that firefighters are committed to resolving the dispute through negotiations but that the false ‘guarantee’ is “a clear case of Parliament being misled by your government.”

Wrack goes on to say: “This has been the pattern throughout negotiations with DCLG in regard to the firefighter pension scheme and a key reason why firefighters in England remain extremely angry at the failure of the government to take proper account of the evidence available.

“This has now become a matter not simply of policy but of trust and confidence in the Parliamentary procedure and your stewardship.”

The FBU has also written to all members of parliament as well as the speaker of the house asking what they intend to do knowing that Parliament was misled.

 

FBU Protest 25th Feb North East Rally

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25thfebrallyposter

 

Announcement of Further Industrial Action

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TO:    ALL MEMBERS ENGLAND (EXCEPT CONTROL MEMBERS)

cc:      Regional Officials

Dear Brother/Sister

Industrial action: PENSIONS IN THE FIRE SERVICE

Firefighter members in England have previously been informed of action short of strike which they have been called upon to undertake.  This action short of strike shall continue until 07:00 hrs on 25 February 2015.

As the person authorised to make the call for industrial action I now confirm that discontinuous industrial action will commence and terminate at the times and on the dates specified below:

Commencing 25 February 2015 from 07:00 hrs until 26 February 2015 at 07:00 hrs, strike action (firefighters in England).

Commencing 26 February 2015 from 07:00 hrs until further notice, industrial action short of a strike (firefighters in England).

Details of action short of a strike to be taken from 26 February 2015 at 07:00 hrs will be circulated prior to the appropriate time by way of a further circular and published on the FBU website www.fbu.org.uk.

NB. Control member includes those who have been transferred from control duties but remain eligible for the same pension schemes as Control members.

Please ensure all members are made aware of this circular and continue to discuss options for this and any future industrial action which may be necessary.

Best wishes.

Yours fraternally

MATT WRACK

GENERAL SECRETARY

 

Welsh Government confirms Improvement in pension proposals

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To: ALL MEMBERS

Dear Brother/Sister,

WELSH GOVERNMENT CONFIRMS IMPROVEMENT IN PENSION PROPOSALS

Members will be aware that Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have devolved powers in relation to firefighters pension proposals. The FBU has already explored this and achieved some improvements compared to the current DCLG proposals.

In Scotland the improvement means that;

  • The legislation will include a regulation that the FBU have been requesting to satisfy our concerns in relation to the no job no pension threat.
  • Improved protection arrangements based on length of service and age.
  • A fairer actuarial reduction at age 55 instead of the more punitive 21.8% that is   being imposed by DCLG.
  • An assurance that Scottish government will match any further improvements proposed by DCLG.

In Northern Ireland the improvement is in relation to the normal pension age for the 2015 scheme where it will be age 55 instead of age 60 which has been imposed everywhere else.

The Welsh government has been discussing various issues with the FBU for a significant period and recently consulted on a proposal that gave the option of a fairer actuarial reduction at age 55 (9% instead of the more punitive 21.8% that is being imposed by DCLG).

The union received notification today that the 2015 firefighters pension scheme proposal for Wales will include an improved actuarial reduction for firefighters retiring at age 55.

This is a significant improvement in the proposal and will be welcomed by FBU members in Wales.

The union is continuing to fight for improvements in all the UK wide proposals, which are restricted by the cost ceiling imposed by HM Treasury and DCLG.

This welcomed move by the Welsh government demonstrates that improvements are possible when both sides sit down and discuss workable options.

It should send a message to DCLG and Penny Mordaunt that firefighters in England are getting a much worse deal in their pension under the DCLG proposals and that this is totally unacceptable, unfair and unworkable.

While the FBU is still discussing areas of concern with representatives from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales the situation in England is still frustrating. DCLG are continuing to refuse to meet the FBU despite our written request and are still standing behind the Parliamentary guarantee that the FBU has exposed as a complete lie.

In relation to the revised position in Wales, the union will now prepare briefing information so that members are fully aware of the different position. Clearly, this step does not address all the concerns the union has but it nevertheless is a significant development which FBU members will need to consider in detail.

Best wishes.

Yours fraternally,

MATT WRACK

General Secretary                                                                                                   

 
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