Engines lost at five east London fire stations amid strike fears

Picture: PA

Picture: PA - Credit: sub

Five east London fire stations have been temporarily stripped of engines as brigade chiefs prepare for mooted strike action next month.

Engines have been taken from Bow, Poplar, Whitechapel, Plaistow and Stratford fire stations in a move branded “provocative” by unions.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is currently balloting its members over the possibility of industrial action regarding changes to pensions, with the results due to be announced on or soon after August 29.

The removal of engines from 27 stations across the capital is part of preparations currently being made in case the strike – likely to take place on September 5 – does go ahead.

A London Fire Brigade spokesman said the pre-emptive steps were taken because the FBU had not confirmed it would provide 21 days’ notice before strike action was taken.

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “This is not a decision I have taken lightly and I am not presuming the ballot will result in a yes vote, but I need to ensure contingency plans are in place, which is why I’ve arranged for the temporary removal of 27 fire engines.”

But the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said the action was “totally over the top and provocative” and had come without warning.

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All firefighters in the capital received an email yesterday from Commissioner Dobson explaining that such action would take place but not confirming when, the union said.

An LFB spokesman said during a strike the 27 engines would be manned by contractors, and used to provide “basic firefighting and rescue work”.

All of the fire engines will come from stations with two appliances.