Penny Mourdant fails to turn up for Radio Solent interview

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, FBU, UK unions, Pensions

radio wavesWestminster fire minister Penny Mordaunt has ducked the chance to debate with FBU general secretary Matt Wrack about the strike action being taken by firefighters in England today.

The invitation to appear on BBC Radio Solent, the MP’s local BBC radio station, was given several days ago and refused when the union confirmed they would participate.

This follows three separate written requests the union made to the minister to meet in order to discuss the pensions dispute which have been met with refusal.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Firefighters will find it disgraceful that the minister is ducking the chance to have an honest conversation about these unworkable pension proposals.

“We have been labelled ‘militant’ by the government however they are the ones refusing to talk to us and ignoring the concerns of firefighters.”

Firefighters in England are on strike for 24 hours from 7am today over controversial pension proposals. In a parliamentary debate last year firefighters were given a guarantee by the minister that any firefighter aged 55 or over, who failed a fitness test through no fault of their own, would receive a full, unreduced pension.

However employers have confirmed that the ‘guarantee’ will not be implemented by fire authorities and is worthless unless written into the scheme regulations.

The biggest fire service employer in England also confirmed that they had written to government telling them they couldn’t provide this guarantee days before the debate took place but Penny Mordaunt gave the guarantee in Parliament anyway.

Wrack added: “The government gave a guarantee to MPs in the House, the public and firefighters but it seems it was a complete sham. MPs and Parliament have been misled.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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