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London firefighters' strike to go ahead on Monday

  • 10-31-2010

_49669097_010476829-1.jpgA planned eight-hour strike by London's firefighters will go ahead on Monday after 11th-hour talks broke down, the Fire Brigades Union has said.

The FBU and London Fire Brigade had met in an attempt to avert the strike and one set to start on Bonfire Night.

The FBU had previously left talks in the row over contracts, but the brigade had said compromise was achievable.

Union members are due to strike from 1000 GMT on Monday and from 1000 GMT on 5 November to 0900 GMT on 7 November.

The strikes will involve about 5,500 firefighters and 111 fire stations.

WHAT HAS LED TO THE STRIKE?

  • The dispute centres on plans to shorten firefighters' night shifts and increase day shifts
  • Firefighters currently work 15-hour night shifts and 9-hour day shifts
  • The London Fire Brigade is proposing 13-hour night shifts and 11-hour day shifts
  • The brigade says this will give more time for training and community safety work
  • The FBU is angry that firefighters must sign new contracts or face the sack
  • It is striking as the brigade has begun a formal process to terminate 5,600 firefighters' contracts

'Extremely disappointed'

FBU regional official Paul Embery said: "We are clearly extremely disappointed that the London Fire Brigade (LFB) representatives brought absolutely nothing new to the meeting today and all they did was reiterate their position held for several weeks.

"They point-blank refused to lift the threat to sack 5,500 firefighters and consequently the strike action planned for tomorrow and November 5 and 6 remains on."

Mr Embery said the union had called a further meeting for Tuesday, but the fire brigade was yet to commit to that.

LBF assistant commissioner David Brown said the brigade was "extremely disappointed" that talks had broken down.

He said the brigade was "available for talks any time" in a bid to prevent the weekend strike.

He said: "We think it's reckless and completely irresponsible. There is no need to strike, we've been talking all day today about a variety of options.

"We invited the FBU for independent arbitration on two separate dates and they refused."

He added: "Obviously November 5 and 6 will be very challenging but we are confident the service provided to Londoners will be satisfactory to meet their needs."

Talks had begun at 1300 GMT and lasted for more than four hours.

News Fed from BBC News


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