Sunderland and Durham face fresh firefighter strikes as dispute continues

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FIREFIGHTERS are to stage fresh strikes in their bitter dispute with the Government over pensions.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU)will walk out for four hours from 6pm on December 13 and again on the 14th. They have already been on strike four times since September.

The union accused the Government of “ignoring” concerns about increasing contributions which will lead to firefighters paying thousands of pounds more into pensions.

The union also fears firefighters face losing their jobs if they fail fitness tests as their pension age is increased to 60.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “By forcing thousands of firefighters into a worse pension scheme, the Government is also refusing to honour the pension agreement they made with firefighters on joining the service.

“Our members have paid their share and expect the Government to deliver the pension we signed up to.

“The Government’s plans are to create a pension scheme which takes no account of the physically demanding job firefighters do and the fire service fitness standards they need to meet. Expecting men and women at the age of 60 to meet the same fitness standards required of 20 year olds is just not logical.”

The union announced yesterday that FBU members had backed other forms of industrial action as well as strikes which it believes will give it additional tools to defend pensions.