Blazing row over shifts ends as firefighters make a deal with the Brigade

FIREFIGHTERS have finally come to an agreement with the London Fire Brigade over shift patterns after months of heated talks and strike action.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) announced it has accepted the Brigade’s latest offer of 10.5 hour day shifts and 13.5 hour night shifts.

Union members took to the picket lines in October and threatened to walk out on Bonfire Night over fire chiefs’ plans to standardise day and night shifts to 12 hours.

FBU executive member for London, Ian Leahair, called the new arrangement “a sensible compromise”.

He added: “I wish it could have been achieved without the foolishly dramatic threat to sack all London firefighters, which led to two one-day strikes.”

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Members backed the new shift pattern by 2,670 votes to 510.

Chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, cllr Brian Coleman branded the strikes “completely unnecessary” and said they should “never have happened in the first place”.

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Despite the agreements, the FBU still has outstanding issues.

It says 27 fire engines, which were removed from stations to be used by a private company as a contingency service in case of a strike, should be returned.

Two of the engines removed were from Poplar and Whitechapel stations.

The engines will only be released once the dispute is fully resolved, a London Fire Brigade spokesperson said.

The FBU also said members who have been suspended over their behaviour in the strikes should have charges against them dropped.

Former station manager at Shadwell, Sian Griffiths, was one of the protesters arrested.

She was escorted from Southwark Training Centre on Remembrance Sunday, just two days after receiving the Queen’s Fire Service Medal at Buckingham Palace.

The Brigade said it will not comment on suspensions at this stage.

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