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Poll: Is firefighters' strike next Wednesday justified?
Firefighters are to strike for four hours next week in a row over pensions, the Fire Brigades Union said.
Almost 80 per cent voted in favour of industrial action in a ballot that ended earlier this month.
Union officials had left the strike to the last possible moment to allow for the possibility of a negotiated settlement.
The strike will take place between midday and 4pm next Wednesday, September 25.
Fire Brigades Union (FBU) general secretary Matt Wrack said: "This initial strike is a warning shot to Government. Firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions.
"Governments in Westminster and Cardiff have simply refused to see sense on these issues.
"It is ludicrous to expect firefighters to fight fires and rescue families in their late 50s: the lives of the general public and firefighters themselves will be endangered.
"None of us want a strike, but we cannot compromise on public and firefighter safety."
On Saturday the FBU said it expected a strike to be "unavoidable" following a meeting of its executive council.
But Ann Millington, chief executive of Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) said she was "disappointed" that the strike will go ahead.
She said: "We are very disappointed that the FBU and Government have not managed to reach a resolution to their national dispute over firefighter pension arrangements.
"KFRS has robust contingency plans to continue to provide an emergency service for Kent and Medway.
"Now that the union has stated what industrial action they will take, we can begin to finalise our plans."
She added: "We do not yet know precisely how many KFRS firefighters will choose to go out on strike, and how many will decide to work.
"This means that some local fire stations may remain open with crews and engines available as normal.
"However additional arrangements are likely to include pooling available staff to crew as many fire engines as possible, which will be located around the county to provide the best cover possible."
The union said Government figures showed that thousands of firefighters could face the sack without access to a proper pension simply because they are getting older.
A recent Government review found that more than half of current firefighters between the ages of 50 and 54 are no longer able to meet fire and rescue service fitness standards for fighting fires, while two thirds of those beyond the age of 55 fail to meet the standards.
Although the Government has previously claimed that older firefighters could be moved to less physically demanding roles, the FBU said its research found only a handful of "redeployment" opportunities in fire and rescue services, meaning mass sackings would be inevitable.
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