Wrack condemns “unfair and unaffordable” pensions hike


The government’s pension proposals for fire crews are “unacceptable”, the FBU has said as it prepares to ballot its members for strike action.

Elaborating on yesterday’s statement from its national executive, general secretary Matt Wrack today said: “These are unfair and unaffordable contribution hikes. We’re facing five years of a pay freeze and a pay squeeze at a time of serious inflation.

“There is a real danger these huge hikes will trigger an exodus from the scheme. That means a drop in the money coming and less to pay for pensions going out.

“The entire scheme could rapidly become unstable leaving the taxpayer to fill the gap. Instead of savings the taxpayer will be paying more money.”

The union says it is committed to further dialogue and called on the government to address the issues raised and evidence provided by the union rather than ignoring them.

The proposals are unacceptable in that they include:

  • Unaffordable and unfair contribution rates
  • A totally unrealistic retirement age for firefighters (60)
  • An unsustainable scheme for the fire service.

Contribution rates are set to rise by 2014 from 11% to between 14.2% for firefighters and up to 16% for fire service officers. They face EXTRA payments of between £2,000 and £7,200 over the next three years alone.

Over the next three years wholetime firefighters will pay an extra £2,000, watch managers £2,700, station managers £4,000, fires service group managers up to £7,200.

Matt Wrack said: “A pension age of 60 for firefighters is unrealistic and that is obvious to all of us. Everyone in the fire service is saying that 60 year olds can’t work as frontline fire crews.

“We never rush into a ballot for national strike action and have constructively engaged in all talks. We need the government to start addressing the evidence we have presented them which supports all we are saying.”

The FBU says from 2015 in the proposed new scheme the government’s current proposals would mean:

Firefighters will pay £900 more than they do now EVERY year

Watch managers will pay £1,200 more than they do now EVERY year

Station managers will pay £1,900 more than they do now EVERY year

Group managers will pay £2,500 more than they do now EVERY year

Area managers will pay £3,000 more than they do now EVERY year.

*all figures are for those with a ‘protected’ normal retirement age for those in the main Firefighters Pensions Scheme at today’s pay rates.

Firefighters in other schemes will also be paying more. One of the biggest hikes is for those in the New (2006) scheme who face increases from 8.5% now to 13.2% in the scheme the Government plans to be in place by 2015. It means their contributions rising from £2,820 a year currently to £3,722 every a jump of £1,325 a year more

Retained firefighters on £10,000 pensionable pay would pay £470 a year more than today.


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