The question posed to us in last week’s Journal was whether local firefighters are right to be challenging the Government’s plans for their futures or if they were putting lives at risk doing so.
There is no need for an ‘or’. The firefighters are, in my mind, right to be fighting, but this time not fires.
Bringing up the retirement age to 60 is preposterous. Never mind that if they fail fitness tests they could potentially lose the pension they have been working years to earn, we have no idea how the real rigours of the role will affect people approaching 60.
It is truly unfortunate that these strikes put the general public in any kind of danger but how much danger will they be in with a brigade of aging firefighters?
While the Government has been calling the strikes unnecessary it is important for them to note that families and firefighters themselves could be put in danger working to that age in such a harsh career.
Luckily for us, contingency crews and recall protocols in case of severe fires have been widespread throughout the strikes but, of cours,e having the real deal there could mean all the difference.
The pension deal offers many benefits but the Fire Brigades Union has certainly found a key sticking point. It is imperative that the two sides come together and rework a new agreement not just for the sake of our emergency services but for people being put at risk by each strike.
** Do you agree? Share your views on striking firefighters, or the Government’s plans to increase the retirement age to 60. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org