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Striking firefighters join anti-austerity carnival

by JOANA RAMIRO and LUKE JAMES

STRIKING firefighters lit up Saturday’s carnival against austerity as they marched through the London streets alongside one of their blazing red engines. 

The Fire Brigades Union’s (FBU) decommissioned engine couldn’t cool down protesters feeling the heat at the People’s Assembly march and festival.

Instead the union used it to blast out protest anthems that provided the beat for thousands winding their way central London. 

Dozens of FBU members joined the demonstration as part of their latest strike against Tory attacks on their pensions and health. 

Stefan Tanfield, from Essex, explained that local picket lines were “a bit thin on the ground because everyone has come up here.” 

He said plans to make firefighters work until 60 or cut their pension would put the whole logic of saving for retirement in jeopardy. 

“When they can pull the rug from under your feet within spitting distance of getting it, why would anyone want a pension in the first place?” he said. 

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack also fired-up massive crowds in Parliament Square with a rallying cry to save one of Britain’s “humanitarian services” from privatisation threats.

He said: “The decisions are not based on the needs of people but are based on the demands of profit.

Norfolk firefighters also protested at the Gorleston constituency office of Fire Minister Brandon Lewis on Saturday.

The action marked the start of new national strikes in England and Wales against Mr Lewis’s proposals for pensions and retirement.

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