UPDATE: MP Linda Riordan joins firefighters on picket line

Flying pickets won the support of Linda Riordan when they assembled outside Halifax Fire Station this afternoon.

The Labour MP said it was time for the Government to sit down for meaningful talks to ensure firefighters get a fair deal.

MP Linda Riordan supporting firefighters outside Halifax Fire Station

MP Linda Riordan supporting firefighters outside Halifax Fire Station

“I’m fed up of the government knocking public sector workers,” she said.

“Firefighters do a good job but we don’t want them doing it at 60.

“When they are not out fighting fires or attending accidents they are out helping people.

“It is a hard job and we have to support them.”

Today’s four-hour strike was in support of national action over a pensions dispute and there wasn’t a full crew working across West Yorkshire.

FBU regional secretary for West Yorkshire Dave Williams said the strike was solid at all Calderdale stations.

“This was a tough decision we had to make,” he said.

“We have been two years getting to this point.”

Firefighters are unhappy at their pension contributions rising from 13.2 per cent to 14.2 per cent and having to work until 60.

Mr Williams said under the proposals two-thirds of firefighters were unlikely to receive a full occupational pension.

And, many might have to leave in their 50s because they are no longer up to the job.

With back office functions being privatised it was not possible to re-route staff into less demanding roles, said Mr Williams.

“We have done out bit for austerity with stations closing and 350 jobs cut in West Yorkshire,” he said.

“Let us retire with dignity.”

Mr Williams told the Courier there would be 20 fire appliances operating instead of 51 during this afternoon’s strike.

Eight of those will be manned by temporary workers recruited and trained by the fire service.

The remaining 12 will be manned by firefighters not involved in the strike and fire service staff based at the Birkenshaw headquarters.