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Firefighters set to strike
4:29pm Tuesday 24th September 2013 in News
A FOUR-hour strike will see firefighters across the borough’s stations walk out next week in a row over pensions.
Officers from Bury, Whitefield and Ramsbottom fire stations will take industrial action on Wednesday between noon and 4pm.
The strike is part of a national dispute and comes after almost 80 per cent Fire Brigades Union (FBU) members voted in favour of action earlier this month.
Under government changes, pensions will be released to firefighters when they reach the age of 60 and the FBU claims this could risk the lives of officers.
Matt Wrack, FBU General Secretary, said: “It is ludicrous to expect firefighters to fight fires and rescue families in their late-50s: the lives of the general public and firefighters themselves will be endangered.
“None of us wants a strike, but we cannot compromise on public and firefighter safety.”
Most firefighters already pay almost 13 per cent of their salary in pension contrib-utions — some of the highest in the UK — with further increases due next year.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) have made contingency plans by recruiting and training up an emergency fire crew to provide cover.
This will be enough to staff 21 fire engines across Greater Manch- ester for the four-hour period, instead of the usual 66.
GMFRS say they do not yet know where the crew will be positioned and how this will affect Bury’s stations specifically.
County Fire Officer Steve McGuirk said: "The Emergency Fire Crew providing cover will be much reduced from our usual service with fewer engines attending a limited range of incidents and we will be prioritising calls.”
GMFRS said they will still be responding to 999 calls but are asking people to only call 999 if they really need a fire engine.
For updates and more information: go to manchesterfire.gov.uk, follow @manchesterfire on Twitter or go to facebook.com/manchesterfire
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