Firefighter strike
A firefighter directs a fire engine back into the station before a strike in West Bromwich in 2013 Reuters

Firefighters across England have started a fresh 24-hour strike in a row over pensions.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said the action follows the government's decision to commence the parliamentary procedure to implement regulations for an "unfair, unaffordable and unworkable" pension scheme.

"Firefighters in England are reluctantly calling further strike action today as a direct result of the Westminster government's failure to listen and negotiate over pensions," said Matt Wrack, the general secretary of the FBU.

"Firefighters are asking the Westminster government to immediately open genuine negotiations to resolve this dispute.

"They should also hold a House of Commons debate to fully scrutinise the legislation and there should be a parliamentary vote on the regulations."

The parties are locked into an ongoing dispute over a proposal from the government to increase the retirement age of firefighters from 55 to 60.

The Fire Minister Penny Mordaunt said the action, which started at 09.00 am, is "completely unnecessary" and that she was disappointed with the FBU.

"This strike action is completely unnecessary and we are disappointed by the FBU's decision, which does nothing but damage the good reputation of the fire and rescue service," Mordaunt said.

"The government has worked hard to give firefighters one of the most generous pensions in the public sector.

"The scheme that is currently before parliament provides greater ill-health and death benefits than the FBU's preferred approach and I believe that the approach we are using will be fairer on all, supporting those wishing to work longer – something absolutely essential if the firefighters' pension scheme is to remain sustainable."