Socialist Worker

Firefighters national vote to strike

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2369

Firefighters marching against station closures in June

Firefighters and campaigners marching against station closures in June (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Firefighters have voted resoundingly to strike over Tory attacks on their pensions. Seventy eight percent voted for strikes.

Dowgate FBU branch chair Neale Williams told Socialist Worker, “It’s a massive yes vote. 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. 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.

“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 firefighters’ 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 London fire stations with the strike over pensions. 

The FBU has slammed London mayor Boris Johnson after he overruled the London Fire Authority and ordered £35 million worth of cuts.

Neale said, “We have to make the link between our pension dispute, the cuts to fire services and Tory austerity generally.”

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Article information

Tue 3 Sep 2013, 18:26 BST
Issue No. 2369
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