Firefighters have voted resoundingly to strike over Tory attacks on their pensions.
Some 18,277 workers in the FBU union voted yes in the strike ballot released today, Thursday, 78 percent of the overall turnout.
“It’s a massive yes vote,” Dowgate FBU branch chair Neale Williams told Socialist Worker. “It demonstrates the depths of feeling that people have over attacks on our pensions.”
Workers are furious at Tory plans to raise employee pension contributions. This would price many firefighters out of the pension scheme.
Tories also want to increase the retirement age. They want to make firefighters work until they are 60—and be able to sack them before the retirement age should they fail to remain fit to work.
If a worker is forced out of the job at 55, they could lose around half their pension. Giving the demanding and dangerous nature their work, more than of the current firefighters aged 50-54 are not able to meet safety standards.
Firefighters are now gearing up to make the strike as a big as possible.
“We need to take substantial action to win,” said Neale. “We also have to develop solidarity with other workers. We urge other workers to visit firefighter’s picket lines.
“If we can get co-ordinated strikes with the post workers and the teachers over the autumn then that would maximise our impact.”
Workers are now also looking to bring together the dispute over plans to cut
Neale said, “Firefighters have to be out in force at the demonstration outside the Tory party conference on 29 September in
Ambulance workers in