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8 January 2013
About 1,600 Ministry of Defence (MoD) firefighters face working an extra eight years until they are 68, compared with civilian firefighters and police officers, because of an anomaly in the government's pension legislation.
Unite, the country's largest union, is asking peers to rectify this flaw in the legislation when the House of Lords debates public sector pensions tomorrow (Wednesday, 9 January).
A delegation of MoD firefighters in uniform will be lobbying MPs and peers at the Houses of Parliament tomorrow in a bid to lower their pension age to 60 – in line with other uniformed personnel.
Mike McCartney, Unite national officer for MoD/government departments, in a letter to peers, said: “Unfortunately in Lord Hutton's report, the MoD firefighters were not included as uniform grades to enable them to retire at an earlier age, unlike their colleagues in local authorities' fire and rescue services.
“This means that firefighters would be expected to carry out the physical and arduous job until the statutory pension age.
“These firefighters will be expected, if the legislation goes through as it stands, to work until the age of 68.
“This group of workers have to undergo vigorous medical and fitness checks on a yearly basis. If they do not pass these tests they are likely to be moved out of the service on capability grounds, probably on medical retirement.”