Latest: Firefighters strike called off
Published: 18 Oct 2013 18:25
The last gasp reprieve comes after The Fire Brigades Union announced it has made progress in its dispute with the Government over proposed changes to pensions.
The strike was due to take place from 6.30-11.30pm and the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service had warned it would only be able to respond to genuine emergencies.
One Reading-based firefighter said: "We're very pleased that the Government are talking about the issue with our union representatives. None of us wanted to strike and we're glad we've been able to call off tomorrow's strike."
The Government wants firefighters to work until they are 60 but the FBU says this is too old to be fighting fires.
And union bosses say they have now struck a deal so that firefighters will be able to retire on a full pension between the the ages of 55 and 60 if they are not fit enough to carry out active service and an alternative role cannot be found for them.
But firefighters who do not meet the fitness standards and choose to retire early will get a reduced pension.
Ministers will now need to open talks with individual fire authorities about how the new pension regime will be funded before the deal can be rubber stamped.
Berkshire's new chief fire officer Andy Fry, who took over this week, said: "I am very glad. No-one wants to see firefighters out on strike so I am really pleased by the news and it signals the union and the Government are getting discussions moving forward between them."
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