FIREFIGHTERS across East Lancashire are set to stage a 24-hour strike next week.

The industrial action will be the longest in a three-year campaign by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) against an ‘unworkable’ pension scheme.

The move comes after the government confirmed it would implement a new scheme without further negotiations.

The strike will take place from 9am on Thursday, June 12. A shorter strike is planned for Saturday, June 21, from 10am to 5pm.

It has also been announced that between the two strikes, firefighters will not carry out any voluntary overtime or conduct training of strikebreakers.

Under the government’s proposals, firefighters who are forced to retire before the age of 60 on health grounds will have half of their pension taken away. Steve Harman, the Lancashire secretary of the FBU, said: “We are extremely disappointed that the government is still not seeing sense on this. They need to make amendments to the proposed scheme.

“We believe that it will fail and that younger members could be priced out of it.

“I don’t know how the government thinks that every firefighter will still be able to operate on the front line at the age of 60.

“I would encourage the public to be concerned about this and I’m sure that most will support the firefighters.

“Our members are extremely angry about this and they will keep fighting. They will not approve the government’s proposal which they deem to be unfair.”

The decision to strike was made at a meeting of the FBU’s executive council on Wednesday. On Tuesday, union officials met the Fire Minister Brandon Lewis to discuss the pension scheme.

The FBU has said that increasing numbers of members are considering leaving the pension scheme as a result of its ‘decreasing affordability’.

Firefighters in East Lancashire last striked on January 3, which followed a strike on New Year’s Eve and on November 1.