Firefighters to stage fresh strikes over pensions row
Firefighters in England and Wales are to stage strikes on 2, 3 and 4 May over a long-running pensions row, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said.
A statement on the FBU's website accused the government of "burying its head in the sand".
The union has already held a series of strikes at plans for a later retirement age and changes to pensions.
Ministers said the FBU had "one of the most generous pension schemes in all the public sector".
FBU members will walk out for five hours from 12:00 on 2 May, between 14:00 and 02:00 on 3 May and between 10:00 and 15:00 on 4 May.'Unique occupation'
There will also be a ban on voluntary overtime across England and Wales from 15:00 on 4 May until 12:00 on 9 May.
In Scotland there will be a ban on voluntary overtime between 12:00 on 2 May and 12:00 on 9 May.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: "After three years of negotiations and an intense four months presenting an indisputable, evidence-based case for the need to ensure a pension scheme that takes account the unique occupation of firefighting, the government is still burying its head in the sand.
"Several members of government were only too keen to praise firefighters during the winter floods, but their words amount to nothing when they simultaneously ignore issues that threaten the future of firefighters and their families."'Unnecessary'
Mr Wrack said the union was "totally committed" to finding a solution through negotiation.
Fire Minister Brandon Lewis said nearly half of firefighters would not be affected by the reforms.
He added: "By calling unnecessary strike action, the FBU has shown it is not serious about finding a resolution to this dispute for its members and stands only to further damage firefighters' standing with the public."
Mr Lewis said he had stressed the importance of an "open dialogue" with the union.