Emma joined with other Labour MPs in Parliament today to oppose Government plans that could see firefighters asked to work in front line roles until the age of 60 or face losing out on a decent pension.
More than 200 Labour MPs including Emma signed a motion to force a vote on the changes, but unfortunately Tory and Lib Dem MPs were able to force the proposals through.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and Labour have warned that the pension scheme, combined with new fitness standards, could result in many firefighters being forced out of work as they get older and losing out on their full pension. There are also concerns that the fitness standards proposed by the Government could put both firefighters and the public at risk. The Fire Minister has been unable to guarantee that the changes will not result in firefighters losing their job or facing reduced pensions.
The Government has ignored the concerns of the fire service, resulting in the longest firefighters’ strike in 36 years. They have failed to bring forward alternative proposals, despite the money being available for them to do so. Governments in Scotland and Wales have been able to negotiate a fairer deal, but the Coalition in England has not done so.
“Firefighters risk their lives to protect us, and this Government has let them down. They have made a total mess of these negotiations, and have failed to listen to the concerns of firefighters who just want a decent pension after a lifetime’s hard work.
“I was proud to stand with firefighters today and vote against these plans, but sadly the Coalition were able to force these changes through. However, we will keep fighting for extra protections so that jobs and public safety are protected wherever possible.”