Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Wot - no Green Goddess?

So today, commencing at noon, there will be a four national hour strike by members of our fire services and standing in the gap, as always, will be members of the British forces. They've been training to operate the equipment and understand firefighting and will, I am confident, be doing a good job. Alongside them will be contract workers (generally ex-brigade members) and fire cover will be in place (hopefully adequately).

The strike is about pensions and whatever one feels about people taking any sort of industrial action I have to say that research undertaken some years back showed a correlation between early death and doing this job, for every time the bells go down the life of a firefighter becomes just a little less.

Every time an appliance leaves the station on a shout the potential for injury, death or mental and emotional damage exists.

The Bible tells us that we don't muzzle the ox that treads the grain - if they're doing the job then they get the rewards and I'm sure that no one who has had a house fire, been flooded out or been involved in, or witnessed the horrors of RTAs would begrudge them a good pension for what is all too often a reduced time in retirement.

So today please pray for:

Those who will cover the fire grounds of the strikers and attend shouts in their place

Those who are striking that an equitable solution will be reached, and

Those who today will need the presence of any of our three blue light services (and those who attend)


1 comment:

UKViewer said...

I think that the issue is them being brought into line with other public services, including the armed forces, where the public pension service age is 60.

Their argument comes down to whether many of them will remain fit enough for the duties expected of them, much past their mid fifties. Most fire service personnel had an expectation (like the police) of taking a full pension after 25 or 30 years service. And a substantial amount of their salary went towards paying for their pensions.

Now, most public service pension schemes such as the fire service were due to the crash and other decisions by the last government in deficit, and patently not affordable on the terms they were on in the current climate.

These pains have been shared across the whole public service sphere, including the civil service, my spouse now has to pay a much increased monthly contribution towards her pension, and she can't afford to retire at 60, so will work on for another year or so.

Why should the fire service be exempted from the pain that other emergency services have suffered in terms of their pension scheme?

I can remember the militancy of the fire services during the 70's, and onwards, where the armed forces were deployed for months and used as strike breakers. It could well be that we're heading towards a similar scenario unless some common sense is brought into the negotiations. Sure let them retire earlier than 60, but don't expect to get a full pension if they do?