A strike in the fire service over changes to the pension scheme came a step nearer today as the Fire Brigades Union conference asked members to “prepare for national strike action.” But delegates rejected a call from London firefighters for an immediate strike ballot and a strike in August.
General Secretary Matt Wrack said the coalition government wants to have us “working longer, paying more and getting less at the end of it.”
Ministers want firefighters to work until the age of 60, but Mr Wrack asked if the public “really wants firefighters of 60 and over coming out and trying to rescue people from buildings.”
The successful resolution promised that the union is “committed to seeking genuine dialogue and negotiations with government” and said that firefighters “will always be extremely reluctant to take any form of industrial action.”
But Mr Wrack was not optimistic about the outcome, believing that “the only answer will be national strike action and co-ordinating that with colleagues in other unions.”
London organiser Ben Sprung said an immediate ballot for strike action would “ensure that we are committed to taking action.” He was supported by Pauline Perry of Berkshire who said: “PCS have thrown do0wn the gauntlet today – can we not do the same?”