Firefighters have been congratulated after taking 24 hours of strike action and for rallying in their thousands at Westminster.
4,000 firefighters marched on the Houses of Parliament and 10 Downing Street demanding to speak to the prime minister about MPs being lied too over a false ‘guarantee’ on pensions given by fire minister Penny Mordaunt. The firefighters’ protest brought Westminster to a standstill for nearly two hours, as they gathered at the entrances to Parliament and at Downing Street.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “As this latest strike finishes, firefighters can be hugely proud of themselves. They are standing up for their rights and for pension justice. They are challenging a government which has lied to Parliament and to its own MPs to force through ill-thought-out pension changes. Firefighters are challenging the theft of their pension rights.
“We are not giving up or going away. David Cameron refused to meet us yesterday about the lies his ministers have told in the House of Commons. As a result we will pursue him everywhere he goes. Mr Cameron likes to have his picture taken with firefighters and others in uniform. He will not be welcome making use of our service or profession as he tries to get re-elected.
“David Cameron clearly thinks it is acceptable for his ministers to lie to MPs and Parliament. Firefighters are angry at this government. We cannot accept a pension scheme that takes no account of the job firefighters actually do.”
Firefighters were on strike for 24 hours from 7am on Wednesday 25 February.
The strike came after Penny Mordaunt gave a ‘guarantee’ in Parliament that a firefighter aged 55 or over who failed a fitness test, through no fault of their own, would receive a full, unreduced pension.
Fire service employers now say there is no way a guarantee like that could be given and the minister was aware of this before the debate.