The Fire Brigade Union will take strike action over the eight days from Saturday 9 August unless talks can lead to a solution of the dispute.
That isn't looking likely now as Fire Minister Penny Mordaunt cancelled a meeting with the FBU just hours before the union’s members began their strike action.
FBU lead officials yesterday received a letter from Penny Mordaunt, informing them that she considers the meeting scheduled to take place today to discuss the fire service pension dispute to have “fallen”.
Andy Dark, FBU assistant general secretary, said: “The minister has scuppered an opportunity where there was potential to find a solution that could have meant there would be no need for planned strikes to take place.
“On 31 July, the fire minister wrote an open letter to all firefighters in England saying that progress could only be made through dialogue. In that letter she said ‘ [I] have made it clear to the FBU that I would be happy to receive any representations they wish to make to me even during industrial action.’ With this latest letter the minister has reneged on her assurance given to every firefighter in England.
“We hear a lot of talk from ministers in this government that they believe unions should strike less and talk more. The minister has today reinforced the reasons why there is a necessity for trade unions members to take strike action.
“With the minister cancelling the talks, and more importantly, there being no fresh proposals from government, these strikes will go ahead.
“The union is always keen to talk and will not allow the government’s decision to hinder or alter our willingness to discuss government proposals to bring about a resolution to this dispute."