Since 2004, firefighters who were no longer physically able, due to illness or injury to engage in firefighting activities, could be redeployed to other jobs in the fire and rescue service if a suitable vacancy existed. If a suitable vacancy did not exist, the disabled firefighter was retired on a pension. However, in 2006 the CLG issued guidance to all Fire and Rescue Services in the UK with the effect that if a suitable vacancy was not available for redeployment of the disabled firefighter, he or she would be dismissed without a pension!
Martin Marrion is one of the three former London firefighters who have been robbed of his pension. Martin’s hearing was damaged in an explosion which occurred whilst he fought a fire in the Italian Embassy in London in 1985. His condition became progressively worse and he was eventually retired in 2005. Martin attended the Belfast meeting and related to FBU activists the shameful treatment he has received from his former employer and faceless civil servants.
Martin said, “Who would have thought in the 21st century, that we would have such a blatant and immoral attack by a Labour Government on three disabled public servants? It is only the support of FBU colleagues that had made this nightmare bearable”
Mick Shaw, the new guard FBU President told the meeting “It is entirely unacceptable that firefighters injured due to no fault of their own whilst doing and essential job are then thrown on to the scrapheap with no job, no pension and no money! We will not stand by and allow our members to be treated in this way!”
FBU officials in Northern Ireland are presently engaged in a round of awareness raising meetings with members on branches and meetings with politicians. The clear message is that if this injustice is not put right, firefighters will take strike action!