Update: Fire chiefs welcome cancellation of strike action on Saturday

Fire fighters at King's Lynn Station on the picket on strike in September. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Fire fighters at King's Lynn Station on the picket on strike in September. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

A planned strike by firefighters across East Anglia tomorrow has been called off after progress in a dispute over pensions.

The Fire Brigades Union said it had been presented with a similar deal to one made by the Scottish government, covering the retirement of firemen and women aged between 55 and 60.

A walkout which was due to start at 6.30pm tomorrow will not now go ahead.

The union held a four-hour stoppage last month across England and Wales over a long-running row about the age at which firefighters can retire and take up their pension.

The union raised concerns that moving the pension age from 55 to 60 would lead to firefighters losing their jobs if they failed fitness tests, forcing them to leave on reduced pensions.

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Progress has now been made between the union and the government, with FBU officials saying firefighters would now not face having to quit their job early, on a reduced pension.

Brandon Lewis, Great Yarmouth MP and fire minister, this afternoon tweeted: 'Delighted to hear that the planned fire strike for Saturday has been called off. Positive negotiations.'

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Nigel Williams, Norfolk Fire and Rescue chief fire officer said: 'We are pleased that the strike action has been called off as the service will now be working to its usual capacity this weekend. The priority is always to protect Norfolk's residents and while discussions continue between the FBU and the government our focus will remain unchanged.'

Dan Roper, cabinet member for public protection at Norfolk County Council added: 'Now we have heard the strike action has been called off we will need more time to digest the outcome of the talks held between the FBU and the government and the implications, if any, for Norfolk's Fire and Rescue Service. But I very much hope that an agreement can soon be reached which will put to an end any further strike action.'

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