Bank Holiday Fire Strikes Start Across Wales

Welsh firefighters say they've got no other option but to walk out on strike.

Firefighters across Wales have walked out on strike - angry at plans from the UK Government to raise their retirement age and make changes to their pensions

They also say they're disappointed there's been no progress in talks with Westminster.

They're staging a five hour walkout today followed by further action this weekend.

There will be a 12 hour break in service on Saturday and a 5 hour strike on Sunday.

The three Welsh fire services have issued warnings to the public to be extra careful during the strike period.

Grant Mayos is the Executive Council Member for the FBU in Wales. He told Heart: "Our members are frustrated. We've been waiting for a proposal from Brandon Lewis for a considerable amount of time.

"We've had 4 months of negotiations since the last strike action over Christmas and New year and clearly nothing has been forthcoming. It's very disappointing."

Alex is a fireman from Cardiff who's been in the job for 23 years.

He said: "No firefighter wants to walk out the doors and leave the public at risk but unfortunately we've got no other options as the UK government won't give us any proposals to do with our pensions.

"I am in the position that i might have to work until i'm 60.

Yes, people do live longer but what with fitness levels and ensuring the public are safe - I don't think it's the right job for a 60 year old to be in."

The UK government says the deal on offer to firefighters is one of the most generous in pensions in the public sector.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "It was the union executive's decision to call this strike that effectively ended its discussions with the Government.

"This shows the executive is not serious about finding a resolution for its members.

"The Government is clear that further change can be made through constructive engagement, but not under the shadow of industrial action, which only serves to damage firefighters' standing with the public.

"The deal on the table gives firefighters one of the most generous pension schemes in all the public sector, and the proposals protect the earned rights of a higher proportion of members than any other public sector scheme."

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