Cornish firefighters to walk out on strike again

Falmouth Packet: Cornish firefighters to walk out on strike again Cornish firefighters to walk out on strike again

Firefighters in Cornwall are set to strike again as the row over pensions continues, the Fire Brigades Union has announced.

Cornish firefighters will strike on Friday, May 2, between noon and 5pm, Saturday, May 3, between 2pm and 2am and Sunday May 4, between 10am and 3pm.

There will also be a ban on voluntary overtime from 3pm on Sunday, May 3 until noon on Friday, May 9.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “After three years of negotiations and an intense four months presenting an indisputable, evidence-based case for the need to ensure a pension scheme that takes into account the unique occupation of firefighting, the government is still burying its head in the sand.

“Several members of government were only too keen to praise firefighters during the winter floods, but their words amount to nothing when they simultaneously ignore issues that threaten the future of firefighters and their families.

“Nevertheless, we remain totally committed to resolving the dispute through negotiation, and are ready to meet to consider a workable proposal as soon as possible.”

Negotiations between the FBU and the Department for Communities and Local Government — as well as the devolved governments — have been taking place for three years, and since the last strike on 3 January 2014, both the union and government have undertaken work examining financial, technical and legal issues.

Following the last meeting of the union’s executive council on April 9 and 10, the union wrote to the minister saying that if they hadn’t received any proposals by April 24, they would conclude that the government was "unwilling or unable to offer any improvement".

In a letter dated April 23, the Westminster fire minister, Brandon Lewis, commended the way in which the union had engaged with government on several fronts, but did not present any new proposals.

As a result the union’s executive council unanimously decided to take further industrial action.

Over recent weeks the FBU has met with ACAS, the organisation devoted to preventing and resolving employment disputes, where union officials outlined their concerns and frustration with the lack of any progress.

In August last year, firefighters voted by 78 per cent for strike action.

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