VIDEO: Fire strikers turn up heat

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Firefighters from across the Fylde coast yesterday marched on Westminster in protest against “lies” told in Parliament.

More than 5,000 firefighters took to the streets in London in a row with the Government about pensions.

Chris Molloy, Chris Newiss, Craig West and Dave Horm from Blackpool in London

Chris Molloy, Chris Newiss, Craig West and Dave Horm from Blackpool in London

And in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre, fire crews joined colleagues across England in 24-hour strike action after walking out around 7am.

The Fire Brigade Union’s Blackpool representative Chris Molloy said the latest action came after fire minister Penny Mordaunt “misled” MPs over claims firefighters who fail a fitness test through no fault of their own will not be forced out of a job.

He said: “That is simply not the case. A lot of firefighters made their way down to London for a rally to highlight the fact Parliament was lied to.

“It was a peaceful protest but a lot of people were very angry.

“It is a long-running campaign which has been going on for around four years now.

“Pensions can be claimed at the age of 60, which does not seem unreasonable.

“But being a firefighter requires physical activity. As we get older our bodies start to degenerate.

“We should get it at 55 due to the nature of the job.”

Following its conference in Manchester earlier this month, the FBU confirmed further strike action would take place yesterday.

In December, MPs backed government plans to raise the retirement age of firefighters in England from 55 to 60 years old and to increase their pension contributions.

However, the FBU accused the government of “blatantly misleading” MPs during the vote by saying there was a statutory guarantee firefighters who failed fitness tests through no fault of their own would receive a full and 
unreduced pension.

But union members said no such guarantee existed.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Firefighters are justifiably angry with how this government is treating them.

“MPs, the public and firefighters were completely misled and given a false guarantee in order to pass the legislation. This is wrong.”