A number of firefighters are set to receive thousands of pounds after the government conceded in a legal battle with the Fire Brigades Union over pensions.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) had legally challenged the government over the 1992 Firefighters Pensions Scheme, which ruled that firefighters between the ages of 18-20 have to pay into the scheme for up to 32 years, only to receive a 30 year pension on retirement. This was because, unlike many other pension plans, the scheme had an accrual cap of 30 years.
The case had been due to be heard in court on 7 December but the government conceded to the FBU’s demands at the 11th hour. The concession means that serving firefighters who have accrued 30 years’ service will not have to pay any further pension contributions until they reach the age of 50. It also means that firefighters who paid these additional contributions since 1 December 2006 and who have since retired will be paid back the contributions they made to their pension at age 48 and 49, plus interest.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack described the climb-down as a ‘huge victory’. He said: ’This is a huge victory for the union and for those firefighters who were denied up to two years’ worth of a pension they had made contributions on. None of this would have been possible without a strong trade union that fights for its members, this was a case brought solely by the FBU on behalf of its members.’
A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: ‘This relates to a historic technical issue in the 1992 Firefighters’ Pension Scheme. The Government will be working with fire service unions and employers to finalise the pension arrangements for the relatively small number of firefighters who joined the service before the age of 20 and serve for over thirty years.’