Members of the Fire Brigades Union in Leeds will walk out at 6pm tonight and set up picket lines outside fire stations across the country on one of the busiest weekends of the year because of bonfires and firework displays.
Fire brigades will again launch contingency plans, including hiring contract staff to cover for striking firefighters, but the public were warned to be extra vigilant, especially if they attend a firework event.
The West Yorkshire brigade warned that the service and the public will be left in a “vulnerable position”, telling people to take extra care to ensure their own safety, while the London brigade said it may not attend rubbish or small grass fires or help anyone shut in a lift.
The FBU hit back at Government statements that firefighters will continue to receive one of the best pension packages of any worker even after reforms to their pension scheme.
General secretary Matt Wrack said: “We have a Government of millionaires who are wrecking the pensions of firefighters and other public sector workers while the real scandal is that their own pensions are by far the most generous anywhere in the public sector.
“This is a case of those at the top getting more while everyone else is robbed blind. Firefighters are sickened by the Government’s ‘snouts in the trough’ approach to this issue.
“How can it be remotely fair that the Prime Minister, already a millionaire, enjoys a far greater subsidy from his employer in absolute and proportional terms than a firefighter who is earning less than £30,000 a year? It is sickening hypocrisy.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Once again the Government is showing its contempt for public service workers.”