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Firefighters call off pensions strike after talks  

Firefighters have called off plans for a second strike in England and Wales following progress at talks in London. The strike was due to take place on October 19 and last five hours.

The government wants firefighters to work up to 60 but the union says this is too old to be fighting fires.

The Fire Brigades Union said it had been presented with a deal similar to that agreed in Scotland.

Under it, firefighters would be able to retire on a full pension between the the ages of 55 and 60 if they are not fit enough and another role cannot be found for them.

On Wednesday, several thousand firefighters from all over Britain marched in the pouring rain with their union banners through London, breaking ranks outside Downing Street to press against the iron gates, before a rally at Westminster.

Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union General Secretary, said: “Firefighters simply cannot be expected to fight fires and rescue families in their late-50s and into their 60s, and should not pay far worse ratios employer-employee contributions than those in the public or private sector.”

A recent government review found that over half of current firefighters between the ages of 50 and 54 are no longer able to meet fire and rescue service fitness standards for fighting fires. Beyond the age of 55, two thirds fail to meet the standards.

18 October 2013

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