Firefighters in Hampshire are again downing their hoses in protest against changes to their pensions, with strike number 15 in the long-running dispute scheduled for Thursday July 10 and more to follow next week.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will join other public sector workers, including teachers, civil servants and government workers, taking industrial action on Thursday over issues such as pay and workload. FBU members are striking between 10am and 7pm.
Starting on Monday July 14, however, eight days of consecutive strikes will be held as the FBU bares its teeth over what it describes as 'vicious' attacks on the wellbeing of its members.
The strikes will run from 6am-8am and 5pm-7pm Monday to Thursday, with further periods on Friday between 6am-8am, Saturday between 11am-1pm and 11pm-1am, and Sunday 5pm-7pm. Monday July 21 will round off the action with further 6am-8am and 5pm-7pm strike periods.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: "The FBU has wanted to settle our dispute for a long time, but the government at Westminster is simply not listening. We are therefore proud to take strike action alongside our colleagues in other unions."
He said the government was 'wrecking the lives of millions' with its policies.
"If they won’t listen and won’t negotiate then this is the result — and they should face more of the same if necessary," added Mr Wrack.
The FBU argues that new pensions offered to them by the government, requiring them to work until they are 60 and contribute more in payments, ignore the physical demands of the job they do. The FBU has been negotiating with the government for three years but has been unable to come to an agreement.
The first strike took place on September 25 last year, with the latest one on Saturday 21 June. The first ever 24-hour strike by firefighters took place on June 12.
Hampshire County Council leader Roy Perry assured vulnerable people and children in the council's care that they would be well looked-after during the industrial action. Some public sector workers in critical services have agreed not to take part, for example.
Many schools will be forced to close on Thursday, including partial closures at Henry Tyndale in Farnborough. Closures are expected to have a knock-on effect as parents may not be able to attend work due to childcare issues.