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Firefighters in Essex will strike for three days in May as part of an ongoing row over pensions.

The Fire Bridges Union (FBU) has announced a series of strikes taking place between May 2 and May 5, nationwide.

The action has been called with the union still at loggerheads with the Government over plans for a later retirement age and changes to pensions.

A series of strikes took place last year but further action has been put on hold while further top-level talks take place – until now.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “After three years of negotiations and an intense four months presenting an indisputable, evidence-based case for the need to ensure a pension scheme that takes into account the unique occupation of firefighting, the government is still burying its head in the sand.

“Several members of government were only too keen to praise firefighters during the winter floods, but their words amount to nothing when they simultaneously ignore issues that threaten the future of firefighters and their families.

“Nevertheless, we remain totally committed to resolving the dispute through negotiation, and are ready to meet to consider a workable proposal as soon as possible.”

The walkouts will take place on May 2 between midday and 5pm, May 3 between 2pm and 2am, and May 4, between 10am and 3pm.

The union argues that firefighters in their late 50s face being sacked or seeing their pension reduced by half because of changes in the retirement age.

The union has revealed that there is a ban on voluntary overtime across England and Wales from 3pm on Sunday 4 May until noon on Friday 9 May.

The union has been locked in talks with the Government for three years, but agreed to hold off strikes while further discussions took place.

However, the union claims that discussions have been unproductive and have called an extra round of strikes – the first in Essex since January 3.