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Hackney firefighters join national strike over pensions tonight and Monday

PUBLISHED: 12:16 01 November 2013 | UPDATED: 13:25 01 November 2013

Firefighters will be taking strike action over their jobs and pensions. Picture: Sebastian Mann

Firefighters will be taking strike action over their jobs and pensions. Picture: Sebastian Mann

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Firefighters across Hackney will be joining a national walk-out over an on-going row over pensions.

Members of the Fire Brigade Union are striking tonight from 6.30pm to 11pm, and then again on Monday morning from 6am to 8am.

They are striking over government and London Fire Brigade (LFB) proposals to raise the age of retirement from 55 to 60.

Firefighters have been told that if they do not pass required fitness tests between the age of 55 and 60, they will be dismissed and will not receive a pension.

Gareth Beeton, Fire Brigade Union (FBU) regional officer for London, said: “We are striking over the fact that firefighters are at risk of having no job and no pension.”

“MPs and government ministers say that the armed forces work until the age of 60, but they are not on the front line. Firefighters are.

“The government’s own reports have said it’s very unlikely for firefighters to maintain their fitness level at that age.”

The action follows an earlier strike last month when 32,000 members walked out.

Members of the public are being warned to take extra care with fireworks and bonfires, since the strikes are falling close to bonfire night on November 5. The LFB will have 27 emergency fire engines in place across all of London.

Earlier this week, fire brigade chiefs moved to reassure the public that contingency plans will be in place.

Ron Dobson, the London fire commissioner, said: “As ever we are prepared to deal with further strikes from the Fire Brigades Union. Once again we will have 27 fire engines based at strategic points across the capital, ready to deal with emergencies as needed.

“The evening strike date falls on the Friday before Bonfire Night. It is just before Diwali and coincides with half term, so people need to be really careful with fireworks and bonfires. As always, if you want to see fireworks, it’s safer to go to organised displays than setting off your own and lighting bonfires.”

The LFB is asking people to test their smoke alarms in the run-up to Bonfire night..

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