Regional and National officials together with local Hampshire officials have conducted a number of Branch meetings throughout Hampshire over the last three weeks. There have been two mass meetings at Winchester and Southsea and also several local branch meetings. The theme of these meetings has been the ongoing dispute with this Government in relation to our pensions.
Most of you will know that the two Pensions reviews initiated and paid for by the Government are now in the public domain. The FBU know that the findings of these reviews clearly supports your unions view that a Normal Pension Age of 60 is unachievable by the majority of male firefighters and almost impossible to achieve by female firefighters. The reviews clearly highlight that up to two thirds of firefighters may not be able to reach the age of 60 with current fitness standards in place.
The review also highlights through evidence supplied by independent surveys, that firefighters will leave the pension scheme in large numbers if they are forced to pay the ridiculously high level of contributions that this government are proposing- for some officers this may be as high as 17% of their wage whereas firefighters will see a proposed rate of 13.6%. Many firefighters will leave and this will have the potential effect of collapsing the existing scheme
Many of you who attended these meetings now fully understand why there may be a need to resort to a ballot for industrial action. There has been no tub thumping and rabble rousing just a balanced and pragmatic delivery of the facts as they are. The hundreds of members who attended these meetings have overwhelmingly supported the use of industrial action as a last resort.
Can we urge all members to seek out and lobby your MP make them aware of these reviews, get them to add their names to the growing number of MPs who support us -There are several Tory and LibDem MPs who are very uncomfortable with what the treasury are doing particularly following the evidence supplied in the reviews. Lets make them all aware.
There is a lobby of MPs in London on the 17th April. We urge as many members as possible to attend. DO NOT LEAVE IT TO OTHERS. This is where you can make a difference.
Please contact your local official or Paul Trew, Nigel McCullen or Stuart Eade for further details