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7:40am Wednesday 11th September 2013 in Letters
I READ with interest the item in last week’s Gazette concerning proposed strike action by the fire brigade union in relation to a possible change in pension arrangements.
The fire brigade are facing exactly the same situation which many other employees have in that longer life expectancy has made such pensions unaffordable, particularly if paid from the age of 50.
The only solution to this is to significantly increase employee contributions and/or raise the age at which such pensions are payable.
I don’t think that an exception should be made in this case even if it is an emergency service.
To maintain its effectiveness, staff who are unable to meet the physical requirements of the job would have to leave the service and receive their pension on reaching the revised age at which the pension is paid.
On the other hand, of course, some staff in their late 50s would be capable of continuing in the service.
A similar situation exists for people in other occupations such as construction and highway maintenance, where, if someone is unable to meet the physical demands of the job they would need to get an alternative job pending the payment of their pension.
Little seems to have been done to reduce the budget even though the amount of call outs has reduced in recent years.
MALCOLM ROBINSON Malvern
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