Firefighters at “end of their tether” ahead of strikes

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Firefighters have reached “the end of their tether” in a long-running pension dispute, according to union chiefs.

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) members across the Fylde coast are set to walk out on three days over the coming bank holiday weekend, after the latest round of negotiations with Government bosses broke down.

Chris Molloy, the FBU’s Blackpool representative, said: “We’re very frustrated and the frustration’s been building because we know talks have been going on but nothing’s been coming back at all.

“These feelings have been running high for a long time.

“We’re not a reactionary lot, we’re not a bolshie lot and we’re not a militant lot - but we’ve just reached the end of our tether and we’ve had enough. “

Among the FBU’s demands in the dispute, which has been going on for three years, are for a flexible retirement age after firefighters turn 55 and no further increases in contributions towards the service’s pension scheme.

Mr Molloy added: “We thought talks were going OK and we were making progress, obviously not.

“The only thing that’s changed is our pension contributions have gone up again.”

English and Welsh firefighters will strike on Friday between noon and 5pm, Saturday between 2pm and 2am and Sunday between 10am and 3pm.

There will also be a ban on voluntary overtime across England and Wales from 3pm on Sunday until noon the following Friday.