Firefighter strike support 'solid'

Andover Advertiser: Euston fire station in central London where firefighters were staging a five hour strike in a row over pensions Euston fire station in central London where firefighters were staging a five hour strike in a row over pensions

Firefighters have continued a series of fresh strikes over a long-running dispute with the Government over pensions, with support for the walkouts said to be "solid".

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in England and Wales walked out at 2pm and will stay on strike until 2am tomorrow.

A further stoppage will be held between 10am and 3pm tomorrow, following a five-hour strike on Friday.

Fire authorities made alternative arrangements for fire cover, including hiring contractors or using part-time and retained firefighters.

No major incidents were reported during the industrial action.

The union said the strikes were solidly supported, showing the determination of firefighters to continue with their campaign.

The FBU maintains that firefighters are having to pay higher pension contributions, face working into their late 50s before retiring, and could be sacked because their fitness declines as they get older.

A spokesman for the Department of Communities and Local Government said: "The deal on the table gives firefighters one of the most generous pension schemes in all the public sector, and the proposals protect the earned rights of a higher proportion of members than any other public sector scheme.

"Nearly three-quarters will see no change in their pension age in 2015."

The Government denied union claims that ministers had drawn up alternative proposals six weeks ago, but had been "sitting" on them ever since.

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