Socialist Worker

Firefighters' pensions

by Anindya Bhattacharyya
Issue No. 1991

Rank and file firefighters in the FBU union are campaigning to get the biggest possible no vote to a pensions deal put forward by government ministers and the union’s leadership.

Last week Merseyside FBU joined two London command groups in backing a leaflet put out by the RedWatch rank and file paper. The leaflet argues against accepting the deal, which puts new starters on to a worse pensions scheme than existing firefighters.

This comes as the union won an important legal victory. The House of Lords ruled last week that part time firefighters were entitled to the same pensions and sickness benefits as their full time colleagues.

The FBU is holding a recall conference on Wednesday 22 March to discuss the deal. Its threat to strike forced the government to pull back from plans to increase the retirement age for firefighters by five years. But that concession only covers existing firefighters. They still face significantly weaker provision for injury and ill health.

Meetings to discuss the deal are taking place in the run up to the recall conference. Kenny Ross, secretary for the FBU’s Scotland region, told Socialist Worker, “People are very unhappy – it’s letting down people who are yet to come into the service. But there’s also a sense of pragmatism, that this is the best deal we could get.”

To contact RedWatch write to PO Box 45511, London NW1, phone 07973 521 594 or 07739 755 979, or e-mail

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Sat 11 Mar 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1991
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