Firefighters across the East London Lines area will take strike action on two days at the end of October and beginning of November, it was announced today.
The strikes will take place from 10am to 6pm on October 23rd and November 1st and are likely to be strongly supported.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union voted overwhelmingly on Thursday in favour of London wide strike action following a dispute over new contracts.
The London Fire Brigade said yesterday that it was now firming up its contingency plans for the strikes which involve using private contractors to provide cover.
As East London Lines has reported, the move follows the sacking of the capital’s 5557 firefighters, who the London Fire Brigade plan to re-employ under a new contract.
Across the four East London line boroughs there are 20 fire stations. Firefighters have already taken action including an overtime ban and fire stations in Croydon, Bethnal Green and Bromley have been affected by staff shortages.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union voted 3482 to 943 to take strike action unless London Fire Brigade Commissioner, Ron Dobson, withdraws his letter which began the legal process sacking London’s firefighters.
London Fire Brigade had already withdrawn 27 fire engines across the city as part of contingency plans for the strike, so they can be placed at key locations in advance. LFB will now call on a private contractor to maintain a contingency level of fire cover in London, which they say will be better than the Army’s ‘Green Goddesses” used during previous strikes.
Responding to the result of the ballot, chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, Brian Colman, said:
“A strike by the FBU will be unnecessary, unjustified and viewed unsympathetically by Londoners. This dispute centres on proposed changes to make people safer.”
LFB maintains that the capital still has the cover it needs to deal with emergencies. London Fire Commissioner, Ron Dobson, said:
“Our contingency plans will of course now move forward to ensure the capital is protected during any period of strike action by the FBU.”
FBU General Secretary, Matt Wrack, said: “This is a huge vote for strike action. Firefighters hate going on strike – but they hate being bullied even more.
“This vote demonstrates that London firefighters will fight these mass sackings every step of the way.”