Would you want a 60 year old firefighter coming to your rescue?
It may soon become the reality as the retirement age for firefighters could soon be raised from 55 to 60 in April 2015. The Government have recently made the proposal of raising the retirement age and lowering the pension amount if claimed before 60.
It follows the increased national retirement age from 65 to 70 last December. Chancellor George Osborne imposed the reform due to longer life expectancy and plans to save 500 billion pounds.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) have disputed the reform and organised mass strikes which will last for 96 hours (4 days). The strikes started on Friday, 31st October at 6pm and will end on Tuesday, 4th November.
The strike falling over Halloween and Bonfire weekend was coincidental as it was a response to the proposal issued at the end of October. As this time of year is the busiest time for Firefighters due to a sharp increase in fire related incidents it has had an impact on the public. Greater London has 102 operational fire stations but only 27 machines have been active over the weekend.
Speaking to a firefighter, who wished to remain anonymous, he assured that they did not chose to do it to cause the public annoyance but explained:
We had our lives planned out. We signed on the dotted line until 55 and now it’s been taken away from us.
There is also concern over the health and ability of firefighters as they get older. The firefighter stated that there was no way they would be able to climb ladders and pull people out of buildings at 60.
Due to the nature and demand of their profession, they are at a higher risk of developing health problems and this could affect their pensions also.
Firefighters undergo routine health checks and fitness tests. As firefighters age, they become increasingly less likely to pass these checks, which could result in being laid off or forced into early retirement. If forced to retire early, they could have there pensions reduced.
People have been rallying behind the FBU’s decision to go on strike and can be heard beeping their horns in support as they drive past Fire stations around the city.
Feature photo © Amie Filcher