Fire strike extinguished?

The government has attempted to head off a strike by thousands of firefighters across the UK by proposing a modification to its pension reforms.

Ministers had intended to raise the retirement age from 50 to 60 for new starters, creating a two-tier workforce. The new offer allows those with 30 years' service to retire at 50 - i.e. only those who begin service at the age of 20 or younger.

However, despite disquiet amongst delegates to the emergency FBU conference in Southport, the leadership is expected to call off the strike.

One delegate told the Press Association that the new offer was "not genuine".

"It is an attempt to buy us off. We haven't fired a shot yet - but we've already won a concession.

"Imagine what we can achieve if we strike."