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Firefighters across Kent go on strike again against government pension proposals

Firefighters across Kent are going on strike against today in protest at "outrageous" government pension proposals.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) from Kent have joined other fire services around the country in action against what they see as an attack on their financial future.

They held a 24-hour strike from 9am on Thursday to 9am on Friday and it will continue today for seven hours between 10am and 5pm.

Stock picture: Fire crews were on the scene.

KFRS said it will still respond to calls during these periods.

During the last firefighters' strike on June 12, KFRS were called out to 17 incidents with 15 call-outs overnight.

The incidents included a chip pan fire in Gravesend, a fire in an abandoned cow shed in Dymchurch and a car alight in Chatham.

The FBU has been campaigning against the proposal to alter their members' pensions for three years and the current strike is the longest to take place in that period.

The FBU said the new pension scheme would leave firefighters who retire at age 55-60 with significantly reduced pensions and that the plans are unfair.

Firefighters currently pay one of the highest pension rates in the public sector, amounting to £4,000 a year out of a salary of £29,000.

Firefighters are going on strike again in a row over pensions. Picture: Library image

In a short film on the FBU website, general secretary Matt Wrack labelled the proposals "outrageous".

He said: "Depending on your age, on how long you've done and how close you are to retirement you may have some transitional protection, but there are thousands of fire fighters who were promised a pension and the government have come along and ripped up that agreement.

"They will not be getting the pension they signed up to and will not be getting the pension they've been paying into for many, many years. That's outrageous and it's unfair and unjust."

To keep yourself safe during the strike, there are 10 tips to follow from KFRS.

  • Check your smoke alarm.
  • Never leave cooking unattended (in the kitchen or outdoors).
  • If you've been drinking alcohol, avoid cooking as this is a big cause of fires.
  • Remember electricity can cause house fires – check if you're overloading.
  • Avoid lighting bonfires – try recycling or composting instead.
  • Don't leave candles burning if you're not in the room.
  • Drive according to the weather conditions – speed limits are not targets.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Never jump into lakes, rivers or streams – be cautious.
  • Always make sure someone is with you when you're swimming.

For more safety advice, visit www.kent.fire-uk.org.

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