Updated: Firefighters set to join July 10 strike

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) general secretary Matt Wrack.Photo: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire
Fire Brigades Union (FBU) general secretary Matt Wrack.Photo: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire

Firefighters in England and Wales will join hundreds of thousands of other public sector workers taking strike action on Thursday, July 10, the Fire Brigades Union has announced.

The long-running dispute over firefighters’ pensions will see a further day of strikes at the same time as a walk out by local government workers, teachers and civil servants over a range of issues, including pay, pensions and workloads.

The strike will last between 10am and 7pm and will be the fifteenth in the FBU’s campaign. The union is also expected to announce further action later this week.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “The FBU has wanted to settle our dispute for a long time, but the government at Westminster is simply not listening.

“We are therefore proud to take strike action alongside our colleagues in other unions on 10 July.”

It is estimated that as many as two million workers will take strike action.

The news of the latest strike has been met with ‘concern’ from West Yorkshire Fire Service, with senior figures calling on the public to take extra care during the period of industrial action.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton said: “The announcement of a further period of strike action by the Fire Brigades Union is extremely concerning.

“Once again, and for the fifteenth time in this series of strikes, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will be required to instigate a contingency plan to provide essential fire cover across the county. This will not be our normal level of cover and resources will be spread thinly thereby, restricting our ability to attend incidents with the speed, type and size of response that we ordinarily do. Again, I emphasise the need for everyone to take extra care and not to place any unnecessary, non-emergency demand on our reduced resources. We reiterate our plea for the Fire Brigades Union and the Minister to find a way to resolve this long running dispute.”

The firefighters’ dispute has continued for months as the FBU says firefighters are facing the imposition of a pension that ignores the physical demands of the job they do.

Mr Wrack said: “Firefighting is a dangerous and physically demanding job which requires specific fitness standards.

“It is obvious to everyone that it is more and more difficult to meet those standards in your 50s compared to your 20s.

“Firefighters in that position face a stark choice of being sacked or losing half their pension.”

Firefighters were last on strike on Saturday, June 21.