Firefighters planning strike ballot over reforms

A STRIKE by firefighters in the coming months is "increasingly likely" over the government's controversial pension reforms, union leaders have warned.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said there was already "huge support" from its members for a campaign of industrial action, so it was now planning for a ballot.

The union said it was strongly opposed to making firemen and women work until they were 60 as well as paying more pension contributions and receiving less on retirement.

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Officials accused the government of trying to "claw back" money from public sector workers to pay for the massive budget deficit.

The FBU said it was opposed to proposals to increase contributions to the main firefighter pension scheme from 11 per cent to 14 per cent, and to 17 per cent for fire officers.

Firefighters would also be threatened with the sack in their later years because it was unlikely those in their late 50s and beyond would be physically able to perform duties, said the FBU.

General secretary Matt Wrack said: "This is a crude smash and grab raid on firefighter pension rights to help pay for the budget deficit."

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