Firefighters 'may quit' over plans
Almost half of the UK's firefighters and officers will consider leaving the service if plans to change their pension arrangements go ahead, according to a new report.
A survey of almost 8,000 members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) showed that 45% would consider resigning if the reforms were introduced, while two thirds said it would affect any decision to apply for promotion because the changes impacted more heavily on officers.
Nine out of 10 opposed planned increases in contributions and virtually everyone questioned was against increasing the retirement age from 55 to 60.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: "Half the fire service say they might quit a job they have dedicated their lives to. Huge numbers say they will not seek promotion because they will pay a lot more and get a lot less.
"We already pay the highest contributions in the public sector and Government is demanding more. Even the fittest firefighter will struggle to fight fires in their late 50s, it is a ridiculous proposal.
"This is not going to be a sudden mass exodus from the service. It is more likely to be a draining away of highly trained and experienced talent from all levels of the service.
"A great strength of the fire service is the numbers who join and remain for all their working lives. There is a real danger that the know-how and experience which saves lives is going to evaporate.
"These pension changes will be a huge blow to the fire service and risk damaging our operational effectiveness now and in the future. Cuts and a pay freeze are already hitting morale, and the pension changes risk pushing it into the abyss.
"The Government need to wake up, listen and change their plans before they do lasting damage."