Chichester firefighters strike over pensions dispute

Firefighters striking outside Chichester fire station
Firefighters striking outside Chichester fire station

FIREFIGHTERS stood determined in the pouring rain outside Chichester fire station on Monday (November 3) in a continuing dispute over pensions.

The strike took place across the county for four days from Saturday to Tuesday (November 1-4).

Jasper Richmond, 54, said the government’s changes would make it harder for older firefighters, who would suffer a ‘disproportionate financial loss’ if they did not pass the required fitness tests which are in place up until the age of 60.

“Obviously, one of the issues we have is after the age of 55 it’s very hard to maintain that fitness level,” he said. -Firefighters’ contributions to their pension increased in April for the third year running, according to the Fire Brigades Union.

The union also claimed firefighters faced a ‘stark choice’ of leaving voluntarily with a pension reduced by 50 per cent or facing dismissal if they could not pass the tests.

“I’m coming to the end of my career but it’s a service I’ve loved,” said Jasper, who has worked for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service for 26 years.

“It’s been very well supported,” he said of Chichester’s strike.

“It’s firefighters at the end of their careers fighting for the retirement of firefighters to come.”