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Firefighters lose pensions discrimination claim

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An employment tribunal has ruled that the introduction of the 2015 Firefighters’ Pension Scheme was not discriminatory.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) claimed that the arrangement – which saw firefighters under the age of 45 transfer onto a new pension scheme – discriminated against younger members of the force.

Under the new scheme, members under the age of 45 will be forced to work more years and pay more into their pension pots, all while receiving significantly reduced payments in retirement.

The FBU further said the scheme discriminates on the basis of race and gender, as a disproportionate number of women and ethnic minority firefighters are affected by the change.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “We regard the transitional arrangements, which force younger firefighters into having to work on to age 60, as totally unrealistic. We will pursue the argument for our members in whatever venue is likely to deliver us the correct result.

“Our lawyers believed that we have a strong case and that remains their view. A differently constituted tribunal considered a parallel claim regarding the Judicial Pension Scheme, and reached the opposite conclusion a month ago.

“We have always known that this would be a long fight and we anticipated that the case would be appealed by the Government if we had won.”

The FBU have yet to disclose whether they will appeal the ruling.