In a bitter blow to firefighters, the high court decided last week to back a government ruling that strips pensions payments from firefighters injured in the course of their duties.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) launched its legal battle late last year to reverse the government ruling, bringing the high court action on behalf of three injured London firefighters, Martin Marrion, Neil Burke and Andrew Scott.
The ruling has already been reversed in Scotland by the Edinburgh administration of the Scottish National Party. But the New Labour government in London has so far declined to follow suit.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack has already spoken of the possibility of industrial action over this issue. “Many FBU brigade committees have concluded that national strike action may be the only way to resolve this dispute,” he said last November.
Firefighters will be discussing the pensions issue at the FBU’s annual conference in Southport, Merseyside, this week. The union’s leadership will report on negotiations with the government on the pensions issue.
A move towards strike action would mean firefighters joining the burgeoning wave of industrial action by other public sector workers over pay, pensions and privatisation.