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Firefighters to strike across Hertfordshire over pension disputes
Hertfordshire’s firefighters who are "tired of being ignored" will take strike action on Wednesday afternoon, following pension disputes with the Government.
Firefighters say new proposals would see them working longer hours, paying more and getting less from the pensions than they signed up for when they joined the fire service.
Hundreds are expected to take to the streets in Watford, St Albans and Stevenage to raise awareness of the cuts to the fire service across the county.
Hertfordshire Fire Brigade Union secretary, Tony Smith, said: "It is a sad day for all firefighters when the only option left to us is to take strike action, but unfortunately, after almost two years, we have exhausted every other possible avenue.
"All we are asking for is for politicians to come to the negotiating table and to sort out this mess that they have caused by pressing on with these ridiculous proposals."
The county’s firefighters will walk out at midday on Wednesday for four hours and take part in a series of events at the offices of Conservative politicians.
Mr Smith said: "Frustration among firefighters across Hertfordshire has come to a head and it will be local Tory politicians that will be bearing the brunt of those frustrations.
"We are tired of being ignored by Westminster like so many of our other public service colleagues, soon there will be nothing left.
"Every week many of the county’s fire engines are without crews, fire stations continue to close, pay has been frozen and now pensions that were signed up to in good faith are being torn up by politicians who enjoy pay rises, expenses and gold plated retirements."
He added: "To expect firefighters to be rescuing people from fires and car accidents at the age of 60 does not make any sense.
"Reports undertaken by the Government agree with this view yet politicians refuse to listen. I can assure you that on Wednesday politicians will be getting a very loud, very clear message from Hertfordshire’s fire crews. All we are seeking is a pension that is fair to firefighters and taxpayers rather than a threat of mass sackings."
Events will begin at Watford Fire Station, in Lower High Street, at 12.30pm, with firefighters expecting to arrive at the Conservative constituency offices at 2pm.
Similar events will take place at Stevenage Fire Station and the Sainsbury Superstore in London Colney.
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