Firefighters in England and Wales will be on the picket line today as the row over their pensions continues.
A 24-hour strike, which the Fire Brigades Union said is the longest in the three-year campaign, began at 9am today with another set for 10am to 5pm on Saturday, June 21.
Firefighters from across southwest London and Surrey will be taking part in the walkout which are the thirteenth and fourteenth time firefighters have gone on strike in a row over pensions.
The FBU said in addition between the two strikes firefighters will not carry out any voluntary overtime, which is routinely needed by many fire and rescue services to maintain fire cover, or conduct training of strikebreakers between the beginning of the first strike and 9am on Sunday June 22.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said: "The minister has decided to bury his head in the sand, but he must accept that firefighters simply will not give up fighting for their futures, and our fire and rescue service.
"Concerns over these unworkable proposals remain as valid and grave as ever, and the government has ignored all the evidence including its own reports.
"It is as ever a difficult decision for us to take, but the only way for us to resolve this unnecessary and costly dispute is for the government to start listening to reason."
The decision to strike was made at a meeting of the FBU’s executive council earlier this month.
The FBU said increasing numbers of members are considering leaving the pension scheme as a result of its decreasing affordability which the FBU said is posing difficult questions over its sustainability.
Under the government’s proposals, firefighters who are forced to retire before the age of 60 as a result of ageing will have half of their pension taken away.