Firefighters justify 24-hour strike

York firefighters take industrial action as part of a dispute over pensions and a later retirement age

York firefighters take industrial action as part of a dispute over pensions and a later retirement age

First published in News
Last updated

Updated: FIREFIGHTERS in York have explained why they took part in the first 24-hour stoppage of a long-running strike.

The industrial action, organised by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), relates to a dispute over pension changes and a later retirement age.

Numerous shorter strikes have occurred over the past nine months, while negotiations have been ongoing for four years but yesterday's strike began at 9am yesterday and continued until 9am today.

Paul Warnock, the union's York divisional chair, accepted the dispute had been protracted but felt it could have been resolved more quickly by the Government.

He said negotiations had previously made progress but proposals for fitness testing were not accepted by the FBU.

Fitness testing itself was “not an issue,” as ensuring staff were physically able for the job could improve safety but he was concerned that those failing the tests could have their pension deferred until they were 67.

The Department of Communities and Local Government said a solution could be reached, but not 'under the shadow of industrial action,' which only served to damage firefighters’ good standing with the public.

“The deal on the table is fair and gives firefighters one of the most generous pensions in the public sector," said a spokesperson.

Mr Warnock felt the FBU’s actions had been fair, claiming they had never walked away from negotiations and had always been flexible, and firefighters deserved a better deal.

In response to concerns about the safety of the public during strikes, Mr Warnock said it was the responsibility of the County Fire Officer to provide fire cover, whether staff were striking or not, while the Government said 'robust and well tested' plans would be in place that included back up support when needed.

Comments (8)

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3:23pm Thu 12 Jun 14

againstthecuts says...

It looks likely public sector workers will also be on strike on July 10th over pay
It looks likely public sector workers will also be on strike on July 10th over pay againstthecuts
  • Score: 3

7:59pm Thu 12 Jun 14

RingoStarr says...

againstthecuts wrote:
It looks likely public sector workers will also be on strike on July 10th over pay
Typical.
[quote][p][bold]againstthecuts[/bold] wrote: It looks likely public sector workers will also be on strike on July 10th over pay[/p][/quote]Typical. RingoStarr
  • Score: -50

11:12pm Thu 12 Jun 14

akaroa says...

One call out a week, the jobs a sinecure. If they can do a secondary job on the side, why can't they work till the retirement age that the rest of the country have to. York central fire service have dealt with 22 emergencies in six months, £30,000/yr, retire at 55 on an inflation proof pension, what a doddle.
One call out a week, the jobs a sinecure. If they can do a secondary job on the side, why can't they work till the retirement age that the rest of the country have to. York central fire service have dealt with 22 emergencies in six months, £30,000/yr, retire at 55 on an inflation proof pension, what a doddle. akaroa
  • Score: -43

3:55am Fri 13 Jun 14

Magicman! says...

akaroa wrote:
One call out a week, the jobs a sinecure. If they can do a secondary job on the side, why can't they work till the retirement age that the rest of the country have to. York central fire service have dealt with 22 emergencies in six months, £30,000/yr, retire at 55 on an inflation proof pension, what a doddle.
OK, guess you'll be fine with us chucking you into a burning building for a minimum wage zero-hour contract pay rate then. Have some respect.
[quote][p][bold]akaroa[/bold] wrote: One call out a week, the jobs a sinecure. If they can do a secondary job on the side, why can't they work till the retirement age that the rest of the country have to. York central fire service have dealt with 22 emergencies in six months, £30,000/yr, retire at 55 on an inflation proof pension, what a doddle.[/p][/quote]OK, guess you'll be fine with us chucking you into a burning building for a minimum wage zero-hour contract pay rate then. Have some respect. Magicman!
  • Score: 2

10:12am Fri 13 Jun 14

YorkPatrol says...

What about all the cats stuck up trees? What will they do for 24 hours?
What about all the cats stuck up trees? What will they do for 24 hours? YorkPatrol
  • Score: -69

12:02pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Emperor Palpatine says...

akaroa wrote:
One call out a week, the jobs a sinecure. If they can do a secondary job on the side, why can't they work till the retirement age that the rest of the country have to. York central fire service have dealt with 22 emergencies in six months, £30,000/yr, retire at 55 on an inflation proof pension, what a doddle.
Another keyboard "hero". These people risk their lives and they are being cheated by a government who gives tax cuts to millionaires. What do politicians ever do that's so heroic?,Fiddling their expenses, breaking manifesto promises and being completely out of touch with reality, that's their speciality. Do you really want a guy pushing 66 to be running into a burning building maybe to try to rescue you or your family? Try thinking before disrespecting some brave people whose shoes you have never walked in.
[quote][p][bold]akaroa[/bold] wrote: One call out a week, the jobs a sinecure. If they can do a secondary job on the side, why can't they work till the retirement age that the rest of the country have to. York central fire service have dealt with 22 emergencies in six months, £30,000/yr, retire at 55 on an inflation proof pension, what a doddle.[/p][/quote]Another keyboard "hero". These people risk their lives and they are being cheated by a government who gives tax cuts to millionaires. What do politicians ever do that's so heroic?,Fiddling their expenses, breaking manifesto promises and being completely out of touch with reality, that's their speciality. Do you really want a guy pushing 66 to be running into a burning building maybe to try to rescue you or your family? Try thinking before disrespecting some brave people whose shoes you have never walked in. Emperor Palpatine
  • Score: 7

6:21pm Fri 13 Jun 14

deckhanddave says...

Has anyone commenting on here actually experienced a fire close up? As part of merchant marine training we have to learn firefighting in steel containers with no lighting, ladders and heavy steel doors, using breathing apparatus. A simple description is HELL! I lasted 35 minutes laid in a pool of boiling water, lifting up and spraying water at the fire and lying back down quick. Not quick enough, the steam created caused blisters to the back of my neck and ears. I stopped sweating so knew I was suffering dehydration, I started to feel sick and prayed I didn't puke in my mask. My 10 minute air alarm went off and I just made it outside when my air ran out. I collapsed on my knees and stuck my wrists into buckets of cold water to cool my core temperature down. The Fireman training us stayed in there a further 15 minutes. They do this stuff, as and when needed, amongst other duties like attending horrific car accidents, rail accidents etc etc etc. We can never pay them enough but we should at least try. Before slagging them off for having a second job, ask a fireman how his shifts work. On a ship shifts can be 8 hours on, 8 hours off but you live and sleep it. You can be working twelve on, twelve off for three months and no break. If I remember right Firemen go to work and sleep there because they can be called out every hour on the hour if needed. They don't complain, just ask for a fair deal and some understanding of the peculiarities of their job. Good luck to them.
Has anyone commenting on here actually experienced a fire close up? As part of merchant marine training we have to learn firefighting in steel containers with no lighting, ladders and heavy steel doors, using breathing apparatus. A simple description is HELL! I lasted 35 minutes laid in a pool of boiling water, lifting up and spraying water at the fire and lying back down quick. Not quick enough, the steam created caused blisters to the back of my neck and ears. I stopped sweating so knew I was suffering dehydration, I started to feel sick and prayed I didn't puke in my mask. My 10 minute air alarm went off and I just made it outside when my air ran out. I collapsed on my knees and stuck my wrists into buckets of cold water to cool my core temperature down. The Fireman training us stayed in there a further 15 minutes. They do this stuff, as and when needed, amongst other duties like attending horrific car accidents, rail accidents etc etc etc. We can never pay them enough but we should at least try. Before slagging them off for having a second job, ask a fireman how his shifts work. On a ship shifts can be 8 hours on, 8 hours off but you live and sleep it. You can be working twelve on, twelve off for three months and no break. If I remember right Firemen go to work and sleep there because they can be called out every hour on the hour if needed. They don't complain, just ask for a fair deal and some understanding of the peculiarities of their job. Good luck to them. deckhanddave
  • Score: 4

6:43pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Proudyorkshireman says...

akaroa wrote:
One call out a week, the jobs a sinecure. If they can do a secondary job on the side, why can't they work till the retirement age that the rest of the country have to. York central fire service have dealt with 22 emergencies in six months, £30,000/yr, retire at 55 on an inflation proof pension, what a doddle.
You are making figures up, and I know this. They deal with anything up to 15 calls a day in york alone, Acomb deal with similar and all the other stations not as many (apart from scarborough). Stop fabricating figures to prove your non-existent point. It's a public sector job, why didn't YOU apply for a post if its such a 'doddle'? Or are you bitter because you were rejected perhaps? They do a hard job and get my full respect for what they do. I'd like, in fact I'd LOVE for you to spend a day in their shoes. Stop being a keyboard warrior and perhaps do some research before you type your nonsense
[quote][p][bold]akaroa[/bold] wrote: One call out a week, the jobs a sinecure. If they can do a secondary job on the side, why can't they work till the retirement age that the rest of the country have to. York central fire service have dealt with 22 emergencies in six months, £30,000/yr, retire at 55 on an inflation proof pension, what a doddle.[/p][/quote]You are making figures up, and I know this. They deal with anything up to 15 calls a day in york alone, Acomb deal with similar and all the other stations not as many (apart from scarborough). Stop fabricating figures to prove your non-existent point. It's a public sector job, why didn't YOU apply for a post if its such a 'doddle'? Or are you bitter because you were rejected perhaps? They do a hard job and get my full respect for what they do. I'd like, in fact I'd LOVE for you to spend a day in their shoes. Stop being a keyboard warrior and perhaps do some research before you type your nonsense Proudyorkshireman
  • Score: 4

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