Yesterday in Parliament deeply unfair Firefighters pension regulations were passed by 313 votes to 261 – despite our best attempts to throw it out.
Tories and Lib Dems voted in favour of the regulations while none of the UKIP MP’s voted against the regulations, strongly demonstrating that none of them are on the side of working people.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and Labour have warned that the pension scheme, combined with new fitness standards, could result in many Firefighters being forced out of work as they get older and losing out on their full pension. The ambiguous new fitness standards would also put Firefighters and public safety at real risk.
This is seriously unjust as even the government’s own Williams Review found that that two thirds of Firefighters aged 55-60 wouldn’t be able to meet the fitness standards required.
The Tory led government has presided over 48 separate periods of strike action by Firefighters in England since September 2013 and, after more than three years of dispute, they have failed to negotiate a fair and sustainable solution.
The way Ministers have handled Firefighters’ pensions has been shambolic and deeply irresponsible and I understand why so many people are outraged, not least as the pension offer proposed is not the only arrangement possible -; there was money available for them to bring forward alternatives.
Firefighters risk their lives to protect us, and this Government has let them down by failing to listen to the concerns of Firefighters who just want a decent pension after a lifetime’s hard work.
The Tories can’t build a better future for working people because they stand up only for a privileged few. Firefighters deserve better than this.