Fire brigade strike called off at 11th hour after pension talk progress

Fire Brigades Union official Neil Sowden with striking firefighters at Stranton Fire Station in Hartlepool last month
Fire Brigades Union official Neil Sowden with striking firefighters at Stranton Fire Station in Hartlepool last month

A PLANNED strike by firefighters on Saturday evening has been called off at the eleventh hour.

Industrial action planned by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) to take place on Saturday from 6.30pm-11.30pm has been called off.

The FBU said the decision came after progress in talks with central government over pensions.

Leaders said it had been presented with a similar deal to one made by the Scotland Government, covering the retirement of firemen and women aged between 55 and 60.

The Cleveland and Durham and Darlington fire and rescue services will now operate a normal service throughout the weekend.

Colin Bage, Durham and Darlington’s area manager and head of operations, said: “We were informed on Friday afternoon by the FBU that planned industrial action would not be taking place on Saturday.

“We are pleased that our operational staff will be available to do what they do best - protecting the people of County Durham and Darlington.

“I would like to thank our firefighters and regional FBU officials for their professional approach.

“We look forward to further updates from the FBU and central government with regard to negotiations.”

The union held a four-hour stoppage last month across England and Wales over a long-running row about the age at which firefighters can retire and take up their pension.

The union raised concerns that moving the pension age from 55 to 60 would lead to firefighters losing their jobs if they failed fitness tests, forcing them to leave on reduced pensions.