FIREFIGHTERS are to stage two fresh strikes in their long-running dispute with the Government over pensions.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in England and Wales will walk out for 24 hours from 9am on Thursday, June 12 and again from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, June 21.

The 24-hour walkout - which coincides with the start of the football World Cup - is the longest to be held in the union's three-year campaign, which has already seen 12 separate strikes.

The union is protesting at changes to firefighters' pensions and a later retirement age.

Steve Gould, secretary of the Fire Brigades Union for Hereford and Worcester, said despite FBU officials meeting the fire minister this week, the government were not listening to them.

"There's been little movement," he said. "We've had three months of negotiations, the government aren't coming back with anything which is very disappointing.

"If you get out before 60 through no fault of your own, you should be entitled to get your pension. We're in the sad position of industrial action, this is a position that no firefighter wants to be in."

Matt Wrack , FBU general secretary, accused fire minister Brandon Lewis of "burying his head in the sand".

"He must accept that firefighters simply will not give up fighting for their futures, and our fire and rescue service," he said.

Area Commander Keith Chance, Head of Operations Support for Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, said: “While the industrial action is on-going we will still be responding to 999 calls, but we will be asking members of the public to take extra steps to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out in their home.

"This is the first 24 hour strike being taken by the FBU during this dispute and we appreciate that members of the public may be concerned by this. However, I would like to reassure them that we will have plans in place to cover this strike period."