FIREFIGHTERS in Bury are set to walk out this weekend in a long-running row over pensions.

Officers from Bury, Whitefield and Ramsbottom stations will be part of a national strike for a total of 22 hours after the Government passed legislation to increase their retirement age from 55 to 60.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU), which is leading the strike, says this decision will mean firefighters who retire at 55 now stand to lose 45 per cent of their pension. The strike will run from noon and 5pm tomorrow, between 2pm and 2am on Saturday , and between 10am and 3pm on Sunday.

The FBU has also announced a ban on voluntary overtime between noon on May 2 and noon on May 9.

The union has accused the Government of “burying its head in the sand”, but fire minister Brandon Lewis says strike action is “unnecessary”, given negotiations between the two took place as recently as April.

Gary Keary, FBU Greater Manchester brigade secretary, said: “The last thing we want to do is strike but it comes to the point where there is little else available to us.

“The Government is clearly not listening to any evidence that has been produced over the last three years.”

The most recent fire strike was on January 3 when crews walked out for the ninth time, with further action since put on hold as talks were held. The FBU sent a letter to the Government giving April 24 as a deadline by which it demanded to see an improved pensions offer for members.

When this passed, its executive unanimously agreed the strike dates.