HAMPSHIRE firefighters are due back on duty this morning following a 24-hour walkout.

And they did not miss much in Southampton as stations have reported a very quiet night.

It began yesterday at 9am, coinciding with the start of the World Cup, and is the longest strike yet in a three-year dispute over pensions.

Union chiefs are unhappy with ministers' plans to raise firefighters' retirement age from 55 to 60 and increase pension contributions.

The Fire Brigades Union said it feared many firefighters could fail the fitness tests required to remain on active duty in their late 50s, and therefore have to leave the service.

But the Government maintains the deal on the table is fair.