FIREFIGHTERS have challenged a government minister to a televised debate about changes to pensions following a 24-hour strike.
The strike was the longest yet in the three-year-campaign and took place from 9am Thursday.
Another is set for between 10am and 5pm on Saturday June 21 after the government confirmed it would be going ahead with proposals to raise the retirement age from 55 to 60.
Under those proposals, firefighters who are forced to retire before the age of 60 will lose half their pensions.
The union fears firefighters will lose their jobs if that happens because they may not be as fit.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, challenged the minister responsible, Brandon Lewis, to take part in a televised debate on the proposals, which the union says are unworkable, unaffordable and unfair.
The FBU said increasing numbers of members are considering leaving the pension scheme as a result of its decreasing affordability — posing questions over its sustainability.
** The full story will appear in the Barnsley Chronicle newspaper, dated June 13. **