FIREFIGHTERS will stage a series of fresh strikes over the May Bank Holiday weekend in their long-running dispute with the Government over pensions amid claims that the coalition is burying its head in the sand.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in England and Wales will walk out for five hours from noon on May 2, between 2pm and 2am on May 3 and between 10am and 3pm on May 5.

There will also be a ban on voluntary overtime across England and Wales from 3pm on May 4 until noon on May 9.

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In Scotland there will be a ban on voluntary overtime between noon on May 2 and noon on May 9.

Firefighters staged a series of strikes last year in protest at plans for a later retirement age and changes to pensions, but further action was put on hold while talks were held.

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 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."