AS PEOPLE throughout Worcestershire and across the country battle against floods, firefighters are set to go on strike for five hours this evening in a row over pensions.

The national strike from 7pm until midnight will see members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) walk out.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said the current storms and floods had highlighted the valuable and wide-ranging job firefighters do.

"Firefighters on duty over the festive period don't have much to celebrate this year and tonight's strikes will remind the government of the service we provide 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, every year of our careers,” he said.

"Nobody wants these strikes but firefighters remain extremely angry over the prospect of being priced out of their pensions and facing the sack owing to the government's ludicrous pretence that men and women of 60 can meet the same fitness standards as 20-year-olds.

"The government at Westminster has acknowledged our concerns but not done anything to seriously address them, so we welcome the chance to meet the government and hope this afternoon's meeting provides a genuine dialogue."

The union met with Fire Minister Brandon Lewis today to discuss their concerns and had previously reached an agreement that will see striking firefighters forced to return to duty in the event of major emergencies.