Firefighters set for fresh strikes - after man died in Bromley house fire during last strike

Lancaster Close, Bromley, after the fire on July 16

FBU national officer Sean Starbuck

First published in News
Last updated
This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , deputy news editor

Firefighters in England will stage a fresh series of strikes in their long-running dispute over pensions.

This comes after a man was killed in a house fire in Bromley during the last strike.

Tom Challice, 90, died at his home in Lancaster Close, near Bromley South station, at around 7am on July 16, despite the desperate attempts of neighbours to save him.

Bromley fire station staged a pre-notified two-hour strike from 6am until 8am that day, leading to the suggestion this affected response time to the fire. 

Meanwhile News Shopper was told, by Fire Brigades Union (FBU) London, a contingency fire crew waited outside the building for a senior officer to arrive, who then instructed the team to enter wearing breathing apparatus. 

It is understood a regular crew would have gone into the building immediately upon arrival, increasing the chance of rescuing Mr Challice. 

The latest strikes will take place from August 9 until August 16 between 12pm and 2pm and 10.59pm and 11.59pm.

The FBU has been holding strikes over the last year in protest against government changes which it maintains will lead to firefighters working longer and having their pensions cut.

The union says firefighters will face dismissal simply because they cannot maintain the high physical fitness requirements into their late 50s or aged 60.

The proposals would also mean if firefighters opt for early retirement, the reduction in their pension would be "unacceptably high".

Sean Starbuck, FBU national officer, says: "It’s extremely disappointing that we have had to issue more strike dates but the government are simply not listening to our concerns.

"We have a new fire minister but to date she doesn’t appear to have listened to our case.

"The government still has an opportunity to improve their offer which could avoid the need for action."

Fire minister Penny Mordaunt said: "My respect for firefighters and what they do, the safety of the public and the future of the service will be my motivation in office. This will not be altered or diminished by strikes or the threat of strikes.

"The action by the FBU is completely futile and counterproductive to the interests of their members and the public. I hope they will soon realise that and re-engage so we can get this situation swiftly resolved."

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