New 24-hour fire strike in South Yorkshire over pensions

Striking street light electricians outside their depot
Striking street light electricians outside their depot

Firefighters in South Yorkshire are to go on strike for 24 hours next week in action over their pension schemes.

The walkout was announced as the Government decided to commence the Parliamentary procedure to implement regulations for a scheme firefighters believe is ‘unfair and unworkable’.

Negotiations have been going for three years over the initiative, where firefighters could be sacked or have a severely reduced pension if they fail fitness tests as they get older.

The strike will take place from 9am on Tuesday, December 9.

Matt Frack, FBU general secretary, said: “We need to be clear - we are not going to give up or go away.

“Firefighters will fight for however long it takes to secure a fair pensions deal.”

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said contingency arrangements would be in place to provide a ‘basic level of fire cover’.

A spokesman added: “As during previous strikes, we want to remind people to take extra care to stay safe and prevent fires and to make sure they have a working smoke alarm on every level of their home.”

This latest strike announcement comes after nine street light electricians in Sheffield walked out yesterday in a dispute over pay, terms and conditions.

The workers formerly worked for Sheffield Council but were transferred across to contractor Amey.

They led a picket at the Olive Grove Road depot in Heeley and union leaders say they face losing up to £500 a year through new terms and conditions.

Staff have rejected a 1.7 per cent pay offer.

Shane Sweeting, Unite regional officer said: “Members were left with no option but to strike after Amey’s refusal to properly compensate them for the loss of terms and conditions.

“The company’s plans will leave the team of highly skilled electricians seriously out of pocket and earning less than low skilled workers. “

A further street light electrician strike is planned on December 22.