Beds firefighters are set to strike in a row over pensions but residents are being told that lives are not at risk by the industrial action.
The Fire Brigade’s Union was holding last minute talks yesterday (Monday) before announcing the dates of the walkout.
Leighton firefighter Pat Carberry, chair of the county FBU, said that 330 full time and 140 retained workers would be striking after an overwhelming vote for action.
He said: “We’re not militant. A lot of us regard the brigade as a vocation.
“It’s a massive decision and not one we have taken lightly.
“No firefighter wants to go on strike but we feel that we have no choice.”
Until now firefighters retired at 55 or after 30 years service but new rules will push the date back to aged 60 and 40 years service.
In an intensively physical job, which takes its toll on the fittest of workers, the union says the move is unworkable and unfair.
There’s no opportunity for older workers to move to support roles and, if they fail rigorous physicals, they can be dismissed with a much reduced pension.
Beds fire chief Paul Fuller has reassured the public that cover will be provided.
“There would still be a response to life-threatening incidents, including house fires and road traffic collisions but the plans would not match the brigade’s normal day-to-day cover,” he said.
For more advice and information visit www.bedsfire.com
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