Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

February 27, 2008 05:49 ET

The Fire Brigades Union: Injured on Duty?-No More Ill Health Pensions!!

CARDIFF, WALES--(Marketwire - Feb. 27, 2008) - A new and cruel injustice has emerged in relation to the treatment of firefighters in Wales and the UK in general, involving the removal of firefighter's ill-health pensions under new guidance from the Department of Communities and Local Government.

The issue has now been raised in the National Assembly for Wales calling for firefighters in Wales to be protected. The Scottish Parliament has already endorsed the same position.

OPIN-2008- 0022 - Firefighters Pension Scheme

Raised By:

Val Lloyd,

Ann Jones

Firefighters Pension Scheme

The National Assembly for Wales opposes changes to the Firefighters Pension Scheme's conditions relating to ill health retirement. Those changes mean that if firefighters become injured in the course of their duty and no other alternative position is available, their contract can be terminated and their pension withheld until they reach the age of 60.

The National Assembly for Wales recognises that this places unfair pressure on firefighters and calls on the Welsh Assembly Government to do all it can to amend the scheme.

The problem was highlighted when three London Firefighters were left without any form of income whatsoever through no fault of their own. Another case involves a retained (RDS) member from Nottinghamshire who sustained a serious injury when he was viciously assaulted by a member of the public at a fire.

His injury is so serious he is now unable to carry out his primary employment. He has been told by his fire authority that he can no longer continue as a retained firefighter either, and faces being sacked because he is too badly injured to work as a firefighter.

It is clear that Fire Authorities following the current CLG guidance are prepared to sit back and watch firefighters injured at work go without any form of ill-health pension or compensation. Others are carrying out the guidance with some reluctance.

One of the three London firefighters was given one week's notice that his pension would be stopped. His home was put at risk, and his entire future was put at risk.

The current pension's guidance effectively states that provided a firefighter can carry out ANY part of their work, they will not be retired on ill-health grounds. It effectively ends ill-health retirements in the fire service.

However, in a cynical move which has angered the Fire Brigades Union and its members, Fire Authorities are under this guidance able to SACK individuals without a pension if there are no suitable posts available for them within the service.

FBU Wales Regional Secretary Grant Mayos said "This issue is fundamental to trade unions, and is fundamental to firefighters. We work in conditions others would see as major hazards. "Every time the call bells go, you have to ask yourself 'if I get injured here am I going to be looked after. Am I going to get a pension at all, how will I provide for my family?"

"Firefighters in Wales will be thinking twice before committing themselves into risk areas if this is the way they can expect to be treated.

"And to those Fire Authorities out there struggling with the issue of retained (RDS) recruitment. If they think that this message is going to encourage people to join the retained service, or the fire service in general, then they had better think again."

FBU Wales Executive Council member Mike Smith said. "We are not prepared to sit back and watch our members thrown onto the scrap heap and asked to fend for themselves. This is clearly wrong and the Welsh Assembly has the power to effectively overturn the current wording of the CLG guidance in favour of the previous 2004 wording.

"Dr Brian Gibbons has that power if he was so minded. What is the point in having devolved powers for the fire service in Wales if they are not prepared to use those powers and hang onto Central Governments Coat tails?"

"We want this guidance overturned for ALL our members in the UK, but if Wales can follow Scotland's lead and change the wording, then we may be able to achieve justice for all"

More details can be found at www.fbu.org.uk by clicking the Justice for Firefighters Pensions panel on the front page of the website.

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:
    FBU Wales
    Grant Mayos
    Regional Secretary
    07970475153
    or
    FBU Wales
    Mike Smith
    Executive Council Member
    07702285514