Firefighters to strike in september, over working hours

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  • Firefighters to strike in september, over working hours
  • Premier Icon althepal
    Subscriber

    60??? I wish! Ambulance workers are looking at the wrong end of 68 and we attend a lot more jobs than the fireys and usually have to carry out pts on a lot of those! (Albeit without their house on fire although it has happened on one occassion!)

    Mikeypies
    Member

    I dont think we will see many 60 year old police and firefighters as they will be either pensioned off due to ill health due to injuries sustained at work or for inefficency (general old age stopping them from doing or passing a fitness test). The authorities seem to want a younger average age were staff will either get up the career tree or end up leaving simular to the armed services.

    bokonon
    Member

    I fully support fire fighters taking strike action over their pensions, just as I’ve voted for, and taken strike action more than once to defend mine. I’ll visit the pickets and support them any way I can.

    brack
    Member

    A lone working paramedic on duty here …

    It’s funny how the burning building debate gets brought up each time …I respect fire fighters but feel they ought to go and spend some time with either the police or ambulance service to see what the unquantifiable effects of stress and pressure really are.

    So far,

    An abusive drunk male w a head injury, a female ( on her own ) with mental health issues, and Im currently being told to stand off for police as a young girl is slashing herself with a knife. And that’s all since 8 pm and the shift has only just started. 12 hours… Lots of blue light driving.. And hardly any contact with colleagues…it’s a lonely old job.

    The government expects me to be doing this till I’m 68… Not a chance.
    I

    hora
    Member

    We may be living longer but its still a slide and aged. Its not as though we are young longer is it Government?

    Hopk1ns
    Member

    Shouldn’t compare jobs, it’s not that ff get a good deal, it’s the others get a bad deal. Ambulance, army etc.

    It’s true that most people will never use the fire service but when they do my god they need them. If you ever find yourself in a car with inside of your stomach sat on your lap and pedals crushed into your ankles, crying for your mum you will be so relieved to see a firefighter lean in your window hold your hand and never let it go untill the crew have got you out. You’ll also feel the same about the ambulance crew and police. You’ll think they are worth every penny. You’ll probably also think you’re private sector job which us all about businesses making money and greed and how worth while it us compared these guys and gals.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Well put Hopk1ns.

    Premier Icon easygirl
    Subscriber

    Hopkins
    Well said, and so true.

    hora
    Member

    Shouldn’t compare jobs, it’s not that ff get a good deal, it’s the

    others get a bad deal. Ambulance, army etc.

    It’s true that most people will never use the fire service but when they do my god they need them. If you ever find yourself in a car with inside of your stomach sat on your lap and pedals crushed into your ankles, crying for your mum you will be so relieved to see a firefighter lean in your window hold your hand and never let it go untill the crew have got you out. You’ll also feel the same about the ambulance crew and police. You’ll think they are worth every penny. You’ll probably also think you’re private sector job which us all about businesses making money and greed and how worth while it us compared these guys and gals.

    Friend was moaning about her fireman fella drinking cuppa’s/laughing/not doing much then one day he came home and didn’t really want to speak about what he had to deal with that day. She stopped moaning.

    Sorry they are worth every single bloody penny in my books.

    project
    Member

    It’s true that most people will never use the fire service but when they do my god they need them. If you ever find yourself in a car with inside of your stomach sat on your lap and pedals crushed into your ankles, crying for your mum you will be so relieved to see a firefighter lean in your window hold your hand and never let it go untill the crew have got you out. You’ll also feel the same about the ambulance crew and police. You’ll think they are worth every penny. You’ll probably also think you’re private sector job which us all about businesses making money and greed and how worth while it us compared these guys and gals.

    Had to call out all 3 services on quite a few times for injured, burning buildings, and assaults, breakins in progress.

    and one thing is for sure they all got there fast, did their job, and seemed truley surprised when somebody actually said thankyou to them.

    Pity this gang currently ruining the country show them some respect and think for a maoment who are you going to call when your house is broken into,set on fire and your wife lying burnt on the patio.

    Yep those oap emergency services, like last of the summer wine, turning up at your door.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    Once again, this government is showing that it knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

    b r
    Member

    Lets stop the shroud waving and get back to the real issue.

    So far we’ve only had one poster say they’d happily pay more in tax to let the Firemen retire early – and this is the nub. A lot of folk will never be able to save for a decent pension, yet are expected to pay higher levels of tax so another group not only get a pension better than average but also get to take it from a far earlier age.

    ernie_lynch
    Member

    So far we’ve only had one poster say they’d happily pay more in tax to let the Firemen retire early – and this is the nub.

    No it isn’t. It’s completely irrelevant and you throw it in because you can’t come up with a sensible argument to explain why firefighters should retire later.

    Yes we know that this government wants the tax evading super-rich to pay less taxes, but that’s no reason why fighters should pay for these tax cuts by retiring later.

    Firefighters, like others in the emergency services, work shifts through 7 days, plus unsociable hours, unlike the majority of the population. Part of deal is that they get to retire earlier than the majority of the population.

    I imagine the majority of the population are perfectly happy with that arrangement. Although obviously not this government and presumably not some tory voters.

    robdixon
    Member

    “Pity this gang currently ruining the country show them some respect and think for a maoment”

    This is part of the problem. The debate is basically framed as anyone who wants to change the status quo is bad, and the FF are victims.

    It’s nothing to do with “respect~ it’s due to pretty much everyone not having any pension provision and the vast majority of private sector workers getting a 3% employer contribution against the 20-40% value of the public sector employer contribution of index linked / retire earlier / guaranteed benefits.

    The other part of the debate seems to be “stop trying erode our benefits and improve your own” which is fine to a point but fails to take into account that if other employers had to make the same guarantees nearly every firm in the country would be shut in weeks, the country would be bankrupt and we’d all be unemployed (including the FFs).

    The unions need to wake up and start telling some home truths – the good news is that we’re living longer but unfortunately working for 30 years and paying relatively little towards your own retirement provision doesn’t guarantee anyone the right to 40 to 50 years of free living. Like it or not, we all need to save more and work longer – the real focus should be on how we help people to do that – including putting in place much better provision to help employers and workers find solutions that enable more jobs to be done by the over 60s / 70s.

    Japan can teach us a lot here – they have a much older population and already have many people in their 70s still working and living active lives – instead of telling FFs their lives are over when they reach 60 we should be helping them to plan for continued work in another sector for the ten or 15 years that follows. Just like everyone else.

    Robdixon that would ok to a point if firefighters, police, army and even teachers ;-). were paid a much much better wage rather than having been sold the career knowing the relatively poor pay was offset by a good pension provision.

    Premier Icon bruneep
    Subscriber

    The unions need to wake up and start telling some home truths – the good news is that we’re living longer but unfortunately working for 30 years and paying relatively little towards your own retirement provision doesn’t guarantee anyone the right to 40 to 50 years of free living. Like it or not, we all need to save more and work longer – the real focus should be on how we help people to do that – including putting in place much better provision to help employers and workers find solutions that enable more jobs to be done by the over 60s / 70s.

    I’m paying £350 a month 13.2% of my monthly pay this is set to increase again. How much more should I pay? Take home pay is £1.5k how much more of this do I give up?

    How much are you paying?

    julianwilson
    Member

    20 or 30 years ago the smartarses on here would have been boasting about the wisdom of sacificing take home pay for an excellent pension and earlier retirment age, not unlike how people in the motor trade do with their poor basic rate but bonuses and excellent company cars, and people in the bike trade do with trade discounts. Now people seem to be ridiculed for having the temerity to question it when their employer changes/reduces their orginal package of employment/renumeration/retirement. Hmmmph.

    gusamc
    Member

    try plumbing 350 month into this

    https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/pension-calculator

    **make sure you tick the ‘Do you want your pension income to keep pace with inflation’ box, if your current pension has a spouse allowance tick that box, ditto 25% tax free box

    b r
    Member

    I’m paying £350 a month 13.2% of my monthly pay this is set to increase again. How much more should I pay? Take home pay is £1.5k how much more of this do I give up?

    The usual rule-of-thumb is that you (and your employer) need to put away 1/2 your age as a percentage to get 2/3 of you salary as a pension.

    Which of course barely happens and for many now no whatever they save they are lucky if their employer even puts in 4% – and you are getting 26.5%. 😯

    Is that figure correct, as it’s all I could find?

    http://www.yourpension.org.uk/Files/Files/HCC%20Fire/FPS%20Scheme%20Guide.pdf

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    What’s all the “this government” does this, does that etc?

    Governments around the world of all political persuasion are tackling the same issues. Look across the Channel at the mess and unsurprising compromise/botch introduced by a Socialist government in France recently. Look back at what happened in CEE. See what is happening with fire service pensions in the US……etc. This is a challenge faced by Tories, Liberals, Labour, Socialists (just in case they are not the same thing!), Republicans, Democrats, Social Democrats etc (althought the Europeans are hiding the data at the moment, Quelle Surprise!),

    Its not politics – ok not entirely 😉 – its demographics, economics and fairness with a bit of politics thrown in.

    Dont worry AA, as a teacher you can look that cheeky boy in the corner in the eye and think, you might be a smart ar$e now but don’t forget that in the future you are going to have to pay for me to sit on my sofa sucking my werthers/playing a few holes of golf in a style that will never be available to anyone of your generation. And as a teacher that is what I call “fairness.”

    Governments value their employees so much, that they condemn their financial futures to something that is little more than a Ponzi scheme. In the private sector, this would be illegal…I wonder why?

    its demographics

    so why are we so short of primary school places?

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    According to the local authorities: (1) rising birth rates (now), (2) lack of affordability of private sector education and (3) higher levels of immigration.

    Premier Icon Lummox
    Subscriber

    Has anyone noticed the mps have slipped a 25% increase through?!

    Screw everyone but were alright!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-128712/MPs-pensions-25.html

    Rising birth rates? I thought the problem was falling birth rates??

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    There has been a pick-up in birth rates that affect primary school places but not to the extent that they materially affect the overall demographic profile of the UK. The stats are all available on the LGA website.

    julianwilson
    Member

    No Daily Mail

    I’m sorry but we don’t allow direct links to the Daily Mail on our website as we find it an abhorrent publication.

    For an explanation of why this is we can’t think of a better illustration than Stephen Fry’s personal account of his dealings with this publication here. We would encourage you to read this before continuing on to the Daily Mail website.

    If you still want to visit the Daily Mail website your can use this link:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-128712/MPs-pensions-25.html

    The above link has a nofollow attribute applied.

    Chapeau, stw! 😆

    A website that predicts the future? Wow can it tell me future sports results too?

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Have you been on holiday Julian?

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    It’s government statistics AA, you tell me?

    Premier Icon althepal
    Subscriber

    That is brilliant.
    Anyways.. As said above.. mps seem to be doing ok?

    robdixon
    Member

    “Which of course barely happens and for many now no whatever they save they are lucky if their employer even puts in 4% – and you are getting 26.5%. “

    This is the thin end of the wedge – some of the public sector defined benefit schemes receive employer tax payer contributions equivalent to 60% of salary.

    Factor in wages that are typically higher than private sector (on average), shorter working hours, more holiday, “flexi” time, more sickness absence (paramedics on 16 days sick a year at the last count), an absence of effective performance management so no-one ever gets fired for poor performance… and the cries of “we’re not valued” frankly ring a bit hollow when you compare this to fate of the many poor sods who are struggling though on low wages in the private sector, trying to bring up families on limited incomes and resigned to having to struggle through retirement in the knowledge that the biggest contribution to pension was the contribution they made as a tax payer to someone else of the same age who retired 15 years before them.

    julianwilson
    Member

    teamhurtmore – Member

    Have you been on holiday Julian?

    Twice since the Stephen fry article, on my luxuriant public sector worker wages. 😛 (in fact i recently discovered that my union owns and runs its own holiday resort in Croyde. With a hefty discount for members. Perhaps we should have gone there.)

    Happily i managed not to use the internet during both times, so missed the dail mail ban.

    Lower wages on average is a massive misuse of the stats is it not? Most of those people working for min eage at tesco dont pay very much tax.

    julianwilson
    Member

    …and of course many/most low end jobs in public sector institutions (by this I mean catering, claeners, estates and porters) have long since been farmed out to private enterprise.

    Local example being our 5000 employee district general hospital which farmed out (most of but not 100% of) porters, and all cleaners and catering to ISS 14 or 15 years ago so the average wage of that particular hospital trust leapt up correspondingly even though no one got paid a penny more.

    Where it is possible to find like-for-like jobs in private healthcare (private CPN, ICU or A&E nurse? almost unheard of but you will find equiatble posts in other non-medical-emergency inpatient services like rehab, mental health etc) they are competitive with those in the NHS and usually feature non-slary benefits as sweeteners. You will find that IT and HR are the exception though, they get way more in the private sector, in fact I am suprised any of ours bother staying!

    5thElefant
    Member

    so why are we so short of primary school places?

    We’re breeding tax payers slower than pensioners. Old people don’t have the common decency to die at 67 anymore.

    It’s easily fixed. Peg retirement age at average age of death + 2 years. Then the ponzi scheme works again. Free booze and fags for the over 50s would work too.

    on_the_rivet
    Member

    Some good arguments why firefighters shouldn’t work until 60 here in this British Heart Foundation video about their research into firefighters

    British Heart Foundation Firefighter research video

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Can some of the STW FFs clear one thing up. As I said in my first post, I think both sides in this debate are deliberately choosing to muddy the waters here. There is no doubt that there is some skulduggery going on with the employers. However, as an outsider I am also interested in the argument that has been used a lot in the media about – how would Joe Public like it if a 60 year old was sent to fight a fire. So excuse me, but as an outsider this appears to be scaremongering BS but I am happy to be proved wrong here.

    Can you explain the fitness test – how does this work now? How will this change?
    If you fail the fitness tests now, are you kicked out, transferred to other duties etc?
    Are the government really proposing that FF in their late 50s and early 60s will be at the front line in terms of fighting fires?

    In most profession, the nature of our roles changes with age and experience. Why is firefighting, police, the military not the same thing (please these are all genuine questions). Clearly in the armed services, the nature of the roles change over time. Why not in the FF profession?

    The police and other public sector workers complain that too much time is spent on paperwork and beauracracy and they have my sympathies. But isn’t this part of the obvious solution? There are many roles involving education, planning, community liaison, budgeting, etc that could use the experience of the “more mature” professionals leaving the younger ones to focus on the front line, more physically demanding roles. I know this is only one (small) part of the issue, but I would appreciate some clarity on this line being pushed hard by the union.

    on_the_rivet
    Member

    Teamhurtmore – you’ve hit on one of the major gripes the FBU have. There currently is, and never has been, a standard fitness test across the UK fire service. I may be slightly out with the exact figures but I’m sure some one who has them will correct me, but what I recall as being proposed is that all existing firefighters must maintain a VO2 max of 42 until they retire or face being dismissed due to incapability meaning their pension rights will be deferred until they are age 65 (more if the normal retirement age increases). They are also proposing that any new entrants must maintain a VO2 max of 47 throughout their career.
    The governments own study showed the overwhelming majority of the population (men) would be unable to achieve the lower of these figure into their late 50s and no women at all would be able to do so. You are looking at only elite athletes who continue training being able to maintain these levels of fitness. Now, you may argue that firefighters should be elite athletes, however when I joined 20 years ago there was no quantifieable fitness test as such, and while I can achieve the standard being mooted, many firefighters who are less active will not be able to do so. It would be near impossible for anyone in their late 40s or mid 50s to now achieve those levels of fitness if they’re not already close to them now.
    To have no standard fitness test and then impose one retrospectively, especially one that is unachievable by the vast majority of people (again I’m not sure of the exact figure but I believe it’s over 90%) doesn’t seem realistic and actually seems designed to get rid of a large part of the workforce and their pension burden, thereby making the fire service a far more appealing propsect for privatisation.

    Premier Icon Lummox
    Subscriber

    I can only partially answer some of your last questions as each county will have its own way of dealing with it.

    Also I hope a brigade pti is available to answer the vo2 max levels as I don’t fully understand that witchcraft.

    In my county we are constantly assessed in all areas of our work including knowledge, skills and fitness.

    The fitness level currently for a 33 year old who bikes fairly regularly and has no nagging injuries apart from a duff knee is quite achievable. This fitness assessment which is I believe sterner than any other 999 service apart from i imagine specialist groups (bleep test or treadmill or Chester step) is the same level up to my retirement age and irrespective of my role (community safety, technical safety or frontline firefighter)..

    Along with this test there is static medical tests including lung function, blood pressure and bmi.

    If you fail these tests or any of the other assessments you are subject to a process known as ‘capability’, basically an improvement program but also a way of drawing a line in the sand.

    So as you can see if the reason you’re failing tests is out of your control there is a process already established for you to be dismissed, as age leads to deterioration of the body (lung function, blood pressure etc etc) there are some things that aren’t ‘fixable’

    It’s also worth having a watch of the British heart foundations study video linked above.

    To answer your question about redeployment, quite simply there aren’t enough posts, technical fire safety and community education are small departments and in our case the community safety is a proactive method that is not part of the fire services remit, if the budgets continue to be cut we will return to our core buisness and stop or shrink community education.

    If you are a firefighter there is nowhere to hide, you are frontline till you retire. You will be doing all the tasks the young bucks do as that’s how we work, everyone does everything.

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