Fire crews on strike again in pensions row

The UK government plans to raise firefighters' retirement age from 55 to 60

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Firefighters across Wales have staged more strikes in a row over pensions after a five-hour walkout on Friday.

A 12-hour strike started at 14:00 BST and is due to be followed by a five-hour stoppage from 10:00 BST on Sunday.

The UK government plans to raise firefighters' retirement age from 55 to 60 and increase pension contributions.

Firefighters had "one of the most generous pension schemes in all the public sector", said a spokesman.

Senior fire officers have urged the public to take care over the bank holiday weekend.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has held a series of short strikes across Wales and England since September, claiming firefighters should be allowed to retire earlier than other workers from such a physically demanding job.

Fire chiefs have highlighted the risk of grass fires as a particular concern over the bank holiday weekend.

The FBU's Alex Psaila said: "I think we do have to make some sacrifices but we're an emergency service and we're there to protect the public but the conditions that have been put to us are unworkable .

"No firefighter, I believe, can work until their 60 years of age and provide a good service."

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "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."

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