Firefighters need decent working conditions and fair benefits to support their vital work

Public Services International stands in solidarity with our affiliate members in the Fire Brigades Union who are taking strike action on 25 September 2013 to protest the attacks on the rights of firefighters in the United Kingdom to have fair pensions. Firefighters across England and Wales will be on strike for four hours over ‘unsafe, unfair and unworkable’ pension proposals. Firefighters in Wales will march on the Welsh Assembly on Wednesday in protest against attacks on their pensions.

Almost 80% of FBU members voted in favour of taking industrial action in a ballot that ended earlier this month; the union left the strike to the last possible moment to allow for the possibility of a negotiated settlement.

PSI General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli says, “Safe and decent working conditions and fair wages and benefits are vital to support firefighters in doing the most dangerous work to save people in the most vulnerable situations. We call on those government employers responsible to immediately negotiate in good faith to address these essential issues. By refusing to negotiate, the employers show that they do not care about people’s safety or firefighters’ working conditions.”

FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack says, “This initial strike is a warning shot to government. Firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions. Governments in Westminster and Cardiff have simply refused to see sense on these issues. It is ludicrous to expect firefighters to fight fires and rescue families in their late-50s: the lives of the general public and firefighters themselves will be endangered.  None of us want a strike, but we cannot compromise on public and firefighter safety.”