Firefighters in Wandsworth will strike next week, in a continuing row over work hours and pensions.

The entire force at the Wandworth Fire Brigade, which includes 53 Fire Brigades Union (FBU) members, will strike for 22 hours over three days.

On Friday May 2 staff will strike from 12noon to 5pm, and a 12-hour walk out will take place from 2pm on May 3 to 2am on May 4, it was announced by the FBU yesterday.

On the final day the members will strike from 10am to 3pm.

Firefighters are rattled by changes to pensions and workloads, arguing they are being asked to work more to get less in return.

Linda Smith, FBU secretary for Wandsworth, said: "Our pension contributions have gone up for the third year running, but we are getting far less out of it.

"Some of us are going to have to work 10 years longer.

"No one is in this vocation for the money, but what has always been a comfort is that we get to retire early.

"Now there are staff here who have worked 18 to 20 years, expecting to retire at 50, who are being told they will have to work to 60.

"Members here don’t want to go on strike, no one wants to see the people of Wandsworth without a fire service.

"But we can’t just roll over when we are being treated unfairly."

The action will be in effect all across London and the London Fire Brigade will have 27 fire engines operated by a contractor.

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: "Today’s announcement from the FBU for fresh strike action is regrettable.

"In London we will of course have contingency arrangements in place but just as before we will
be asking people to take extra care to prevent fires from starting.

"We will be doing all we can to remind them to take care when cooking, to make sure cigarettes are disposed of properly and to check their smoke alarms are working, especially over the bank holiday period."

The London Fire Brigade are asking for the public to only call about genuine emergencies.

The final day of next week’s action will be the 12th FBU strike since September last year.

Wimbledon Guardian:

Happier times: Wandsworth firefighters say they love their work but are unhappy about workload and pension changes

Wimbledon Guardian:

Regrettable: London Fire Commissioner urges public to be extra vigilant during strikes