South Yorkshire firefighters vote for strike action

With the help of local media students a road safety video being produced on Worksop Road in conjunction with South Yorkshire emergency services. Fire engines keep  the road closed
With the help of local media students a road safety video being produced on Worksop Road in conjunction with South Yorkshire emergency services. Fire engines keep the road closed

Hundreds of firefighters in South Yorkshire could go on strike over pension changes after union members voted in favour of the move.

A ballot on whether to hold the first national firefighters’ strike for a decade led to 78 per cent of Fire Brigade Union members voting in favour of the action.

Negotiations with the Government have been ongoing for two years over pension changes, which the union says are ‘unaffordable’ and ‘unworkable’.

Graham Wilkinson, acting brigade secretary for the FBU in South Yorkshire, said the earliest date for a walkout would be September 6 although that had not been set yet.

He added: “It has been a strong ballot with 78 per cent nationally voting yes and in South Yorkshire it has been strong all the way. At branch meetings virtually all the members have been behind the vote.

“It’s just a shame that it has come to this.

“If the Government enters back into negotiations with our executive council I am sure it could still be resolved.”

Mr Wilkinson said there were 660 members in the union in South Yorkshire who could be involved with the strike when and if it went ahead.

Officials have claimed firefighters already pay some of the highest pension contribution rates.

He added: “It’s the fact the Government seems to be cutting back on everything while leaving themselves alone.

“I don’t see these changes to their pensions.”