There have been lots of updates from conference via FBUNational Youtube channel which you can find by clicking on this link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_N7efSISAgVo_CnXMxOf5A
A complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman that the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) failed to review the commutation factors within the 1992 Firefighters Pension Scheme from 1998 – 2006, was upheld.
Commutation is a procedure where a member of a pension scheme gives up a part of their pension in exchange for an immediate lump sum payment.
The Fire Brigades Union provided support and legal assistance to more than 5000 of its retired members who were affected.
Due to the number of grievances involved the pension ombudsman decided upon a test case basis. A retired firefighter and FBU member was the primary test case.
The test case found that GAD had failed to identify its responsibility to calculate appropriate commutation factors – the amount that needs to be given up in order to provide a lump sum – and that they should compensate the member for the loss of money and any tax liability.
This decision should now be applied to all affected firefighters in the 1992 scheme.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “This is a significant victory for retired firefighters.
“As the outcome has just been announced the FBU will be looking at the details and discussing the decision with its legal advisors.”
The news comes on the final day of the FBU’s conference in Blackpool where the union recommitted its fight for a fair pension scheme for all firefighters after the unworkable 2015 scheme was imposed on 1 April.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue currently have only around a third of its firefighters who have completed an Initial Emergency Care Course. This is a 4-day course that enables firefighters to provide only initial first aid. The majority of the remaining firefighters have not had this training.
Firefighters are being mobilised to calls to assist the ambulance service as they have done for many years, usually to gain entry, however several recent incidents show that ambulances are either not arriving or having severely delayed responses.
Ian Murray, vice-president of the FBU, said: “Firefighters routinely train to deal with fires, flooding, terrorism and rescue emergencies but South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service are mobilising fire crews to incidents they are not trained to deal with.
“We know only a small percentage of firefighters are trained to give basic first aid.
“It is irresponsible and dangerous to put untrained firefighters in the position of attending incidents to assist the ambulance service, with the knowledge that it is highly unlikely one will arrive for some considerable time and as such leaving the fire crews to deal with a medical emergency they are not trained to deal with.
“The coalition government is guilty of presiding over an A&E crisis where ambulance and paramedics are dangerously overstretched. The current situation cannot continue.”
Graham Wilkinson, chair of the FBU in South Yorkshire, said: “This is irresponsible plain and simple.
“Even the deputy chief fire officer of South Yorkshire John Roberts admits that we’re not the primary service for these sort of emergencies.”
As the general election approaches and the 2015 Firefighters’ Pension Scheme is imposed Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, gives a detailed update to all firefighters on pensions changes, the ongoing campaign,where they can find vital information and attacks the Conservative party for trying to stop firefighters fighting for their service.
Another reason to think very carefully about who you vote for on 7th May
This is copied from the manifesto published yesterday
In simple terms the new imposed schemes do not reflect the physical role undertaken by firefighters.
Every single member of the Fire Brigades Union needs to see “Still the Enemy Within” a documentary film about the Miner’s strike. It explains the structured nature of the assault on trade unions in this country and how they were employed in that dispute. If you do not believe that there was and still is a concerted effort by government to undermine trade union activity and remove from you the power of collective action by workers you need to read the Ridley Report produced in 1977.
At the moment I am reading “In the Line of Fire” a book on the history of the FBU. It is interesting to note that shift patterns now being introduced with longer working hours, being attached to stations for days at a time, were fought against after the first world war when firefighters basically lived in servitude at fire stations. Fire brigades also became part of Police forces in some parts of the country which removed the right to strike.
We need to be aware of our past to move forward in the future.
Paul Drinkwater (Chair)
The response is given to correct a number of inaccuracies in the letter.
You can read the full response here.