Before 2010, firefighters already contributed one of the highest proportions of their salary towards their pensions (11%), and in April this year it increased for the third year running.
The government has increased contribution costs for firefighters for the third year running rising to more than £4,000 a year from a salary of around £29,000.
Firefighters will be expected to work until they are 60 however the government’s own report by Dr Tony Williams, published in December 2013, recognises that two thirds (66%) will not meet the current fitness standard.
The plans mean that firefighters, whose fitness declines as we get older, face a stark ‘choice’: leave with a significantly reduced pension of more then 20% or face dismissal from the service.
Firefighters will only receive the full pension they signed up for if they work for 40 years in the service which given current retirement and fitness rates is unlikely for the majority of firefighters.
In August the Westminster fire minister Penny Mordaunt stated she was seeking ‘the best deal possible for firefighter’ and would consult with other ministers. After two months of consideration, where the FBU gave evidence, discussed the issues and refrained from calling further action, she returned to say there will be no further offer.
Clearly Cameron, Osborne and co have stepped in to make sure that no concessions are offered. Politicians regularly praise firefighters for the work we do, yet ministers are ignoring all of our arguments and refusing to negotiate or improve their offer.
- Been patient
- Been prepared to talk
- Presented evidence to support our concerns
- Refrained from taking strike action while discussions continued
The government have rewarded this reasonable approach by ignoring us and moving to impose its unworkable proposals.