Firefighters on strike

Firefighters went on strike this afternoon (Friday May 2).

Crawley firefighters stopped work and had a barbeque outside the fire station in Ifield Avenue today during the first of three planned periods of strike.

Strikes take place: Today from midday until 5pm, Saturday (May 3) from 2pm until 2am, and Sunday (May 4) from 10am to 3pm.

Crawley firefighter and FBU representative Francis Bishop said the strike was over a dispute the FBU had been having with the government for three years.

The Government wants firefighters to work until they are 60 and firefighters say they cannot be expected to meet fitness standards until that age.

He said a government commissioned medical report has found that more than 90 per cent of women firefighters and around 60 per cent of male firefighters won’t be able to work till they’re 60.

He added that the government has said if firefighters need to retire at the age of 55, their pension will be reduced by 45 per cent - which FBU members do not think is fair.

Firefighters’ pension contributions are around 14.2 per cent.

Mr Bishop said: “They want us to pay a fortune into our pensions which we are statistically unlikely to get.

“We can’t agree to a pension scheme where we pay £100 a week every year then get a pension of £9,000 a year.”