In July 2007 three retired firefighters were told by the Fire Authority in London (LFEPA) that their pensions would stop. This arose because of changes to the rules of the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme. The three were told that, because they were still capable of performing some duties, specifically, because they were still fit to do a desk job, they were not eligible to receive a pension.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has launched court action because they believe that it now be virtually impossible for any firefighter to take early retirement due to ill health in future.
Martin Marrion, one of the three, worked for London Fire Brigade for 27 years until his career ended prematurely in January 2006, due to hearing loss. He says he was refused a desk job and was therefore given an ill-health pension. After he appealed over the size of his pension, the Appeal Board decided to take it away completely!
Martin Marrion is now out of work, because his employer put him out of work, but without a pension.
Reasonably, the FBU argues ill-health pensions are crucial because the job is so dangerous.
The union has also called for a political and industrial campaign aimed at reversing these government changes to the pension scheme. The FBU’s London regional committee (LRC) has passed a resolution, which makes it clear that any such campaign must include a ballot for national strike action. London branches are now voting on that resolution.