Grantham firefighters will go on strike “with a heavy heart”

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A firefighter has said he and his colleagues will go on strike this weekend with a “heavy heart” but they feel they have no option.

Ben Selby, Lincolnshire Fire Brigades Union chairman, said he wanted the people of Grantham and Lincolnshire to know that firefighters are disappointed they have to take action.

Mr Selby said: “We are disappointed we have to go on strike, but we feel we have no option. Brandon Lewis (Minister for fire and rescue) says that we are making progress with talks but we aren’t. They have ground to a halt in the last few months and we want the people of Grantham to know we are doing this with a heavy heart.”

Firefighters will go on strike on Friday between noon and 5pm, on Saturday between 2pm and 2am, and on Sunday between 10am and 3pm. There will also be a ban on voluntary overtime across England and Wales from 3pm on Sunday until noon on Friday (May 9).

Firefighters are striking over pensions. They say the Government wants to raise the retirement age of firefighters to 60 and the union fears that many of them will not be fit enough to work to that age and, as a result could be sacked. The union says the Government has not guaranteed firefighters will be offered other jobs. The union says if firefighters do lose their jobs they could have to wait until the age of 67 before getting their pension.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue says emergency cover will be provided during the strike. People are being urged to dial 999 in an emergency when the strikes are under way. The Fire Brigades Union has called the strikes for Friday, May 2, from noon to 5pm, Saturday May 3, from 2pm to 2am, and Sunday, May 4, from 10am to 3pm.

Dave Ramscar, Chief Fire Officer at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue has plans in place to ensure that we continue to provide an emergency response within the county. We accept that any planned industrial action will impact on our ability to deliver business as usual, but we are confident that the implementation of our plans will enable us to continue to answer 999 calls and to respond to incidents as quickly as possible.

“We continue to remind people to take care when going about their daily business, and that there is further safety advice available on our website and on Twitter @lincsfirerescue.”