UK - About 15,000 part-time "retained" firefighters will now have access to the Firefighters Pension Scheme following a landmark discrimination ruling by the House of Lords.
The house upheld an appeal brought by 12 retained firefighters from Kent and Berkshire on the grounds that their exclusion from the scheme because of their part-time status was unlawful.
The house ruled that retained and whole-time firefighters are employed on the same type of contract and added that the Employment Tribunal’s original decision to reject the case had focussed too much on the differences between wholetime and retained duty contracts, rather than the similarities.
Retained firefighters are typically on call for between 120 and 168 hours a week. Employed on the basis that they have other jobs, they must work or live close to the fire stations where they are retained.
The appeal was backed by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack said retained firefighters would no longer have to accept second class employment rights.
No longer will we have firefighters working retained duty serving their communities for 30 years being left without a pension,” he said.
Union solicitor Richard Arthur added: This case will impact on hundreds of thousands of part-time workers who will be able to use the regulations to get equal treatment. It is a truly momentous decision.
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