UPDATE: Firefighters in Wandsworth join national strike in dispute over pensions

Fire Brigades Union members strike outside Battersea Fire Station

Fire Brigades Union members strike outside Battersea Fire Station

Fire Brigades Union members strike outside Battersea Fire Station

First published in News
Last updated
by , Senior Reporter

Firefighters across Wandsworth joined a four hour national strike this afternoon following a dispute over pensions.

In total 39 firefighters from Battersea, Clapham, Tooting and Wandsworth Fire Stations began striking at 12pm today.

The Fire Brigade Union (FBU) have said changes to pensions means members will have to work longer, pay more into their pensions and receive less when they retire.

This afternoon 11 FBU members picketed outside Battersea Fire Station, Este Road, supported by retired firefighters and campaign group Wandsworth Against Cuts (WAC).

A total of eight firefighters from Tooting Fire Station, Trinity Road, joined the walk out and 10 from Wandsworth Fire Station.

About 10 firefighters are also on strike at Clapham Fire Station, in Old Town.

Dave Waterman, FBU South West Area chairman, said members of the public were supportive of the strike outside Battersea Fire Station.

He said: "It's going well. We are supported by retired firefighters and support from the WAC group.

"I think it will serve as a warning to the government and demonstrate our level of resolve. It's not about wages it's about our pensions."

It is the first national firefighters strike in 11 years, with FBU members last on strike in 2010 following changes to shifts.

The union's general secretary, Matt Wrack, said it was ludicrous for the Government to make firefighters work on the front line until they are 60-years-old.

He said: "This initial strike is a warning shot to government. Firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions. Governments in Westminster and Cardiff have simply refused to see sense on these issues.

"None of us want a strike, but we cannot compromise on public and firefighter safety."

But the Government's fire minister, Brandon Lewis, insisted firefighters would still "get one of the most generous pension schemes in the public sector."

He added: "I can reassure the public that all fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales have robust contingency plans in place.

"Incidents and call-outs are at an historical low - but in the event of a fire the advice to people remains the same: get out, stay out and call 999 - you will get an emergency response."

Fire engines have been temporarily removed from Clapham and Wandsworth Fire Station to be on standby.

A total of 27 engines will be used to provide cover across the capital manned by 200 Secrutias Staff.

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