Firefighters burning with rage at pension proposals

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A Chorley firefighter has slammed the government after attacks on pensions and working conditions.

Firefighter and FBU rep Stuart Roxburgh feels the governments new targets are unrealistic.

The government wants firefighters to pay more into their pensions and increase the working age..

On average they currently pay £320 a month into their pension.

The new rules would see firefighters pay an extra £40 into their pension.

And Mr Roxburgh, who is based at the Washington Hall Lane Station, Euxton, feels the targets are simply outrageous.

He said: “They want us to sign this outrageous document.

“I don’t think any firefighter in their right mind will sign it.

“I am already paying in a lot of money and it would be a huge increase if it is passed.

“They expect 60-year-olds to maintain high levels of fitness, well they should picture a 60-year-old they know and see if they could climb a ladder for long periods of time and walk around in rooms full of smoke, it just doesn’t happen.”

Firefighters could also lose out on 50 per cent of their pension should they retire before the age of 57.

And Stuart thinks the new rule just isn’t fair.

He added: “They are basically sacking people aged 55 and above because they cannot maintain their fitness.

“If they retire before the age of 57 then they lost out on half their pension.

“Why is that fair on people who have worked hard to earn that pension?”

Firefighters throughout the country walked out for the fifth time over the weekend to make a stance against the government.

But Stuart insists this isn’t what they want to do.

He added : “We will not budge against the Government until we are happy.

“We don’t want to strike and we really don’t want to effect the public but at the moment it seems the only way.

Steve Harman, Lancashire secretary of the Fire Brigade’s Union, said: “We want a pension scheme that is fit for purpose - and the one the Government is proposing just isn’t.

Firefighters throughout England yesterday announced fresh strike dates.

Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and January 3 are the dates firefighters will be striking.