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Fire Brigades Union members of Kent Fire and Rescue Service to begin eight-day strike across Kent in pensions row

Hundreds of firefighters at stations across Kent are to stage their first eight-day strike soon in a dispute about their pensions.

The crews are joining in national action, called by the Fire Brigades Union, which will see them leave their posts for several hours each day between Monday, July 14 and Monday, July 21.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service said it is making "contingency plans", but is urging the public to be extra cautious to avoid fires or emergencies.

Stock picture: Fire crews were on the scene.
Stock picture: Fire crews were on the scene.

Firefighters around the county are supporting the industrial action, which follows a ballot of FBU members by the union.

They are angry the new Public Services Pensions Act means them having to contribute more to their pension schemes, which they will not be able to claim until they are 60, instead of 55.

The strike dates are:

  • Monday 14 July: 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm
  • Tuesday 15 July: 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm
  • Wednesday 16 July: 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm
  • Thursday 17 July: 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm
  • Friday 18 July: 6am–8am and 11pm–1am on Saturday 19 July
  • Saturday 19 July: 11am–1pm and 11pm–1am on Sunday 20 July
  • Sunday 20 July: 5pm–7pm
  • Monday 21 July: 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm

Kent FBU secretary Mark Simmons said: "We do not accept that it is appropriate or safe to require our members to work to the age of 60."

Kent Fire Brigade Union secretary Mark Simmons
Kent Fire Brigade Union secretary Mark Simmons

KFRS director of operations Sean Bone-Knell said during an earlier walkout: "We have been working hard to make sure we have the best emergency cover we can for this series of strikes.

"Staff who are not striking will be based at locations around the county to provide the best cover possible."

But KFRS is not saying exactly where the appliances will be based, other than at "strategic locations".

Fire crews' tips for strike safety

Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every floor of your home and test them regularly

Unplug any unused electrical items before you go out and don't overload electric sockets

Avoid leaving electrical items running, such as the washing machine or tumble dryer, while you're away from home

Don't leave any cooking unattended, especially if you've been drinking alcohol or are on medication

Avoid using candles and don't leave them burning if you are not in the room

Drive carefully and wear a seatbelt

If you are out walking, stick to safe areas and avoid water and deep mud where you may get into difficulties

Avoid having bonfires

For more safety advice, visit www.kent.fire-uk.org or call 0800 923 7000.

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