Fire Brigades Union agrees in principle to new shifts

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) agreed in principle to new shift patterns at a London fire authority meeting yesterday.

Firefighters and London Fire Brigade (LFB) bosses have been locked in a dispute over changes to working hours in the London service.

In October and November last year firefighters across the capital, including in Tower Hamlets, staged two eight-hour strikes and considered holding further strike action on Bonfire Night.

The Brigade wanted equal twelve hour day and night shifts to replace the current nine hour day and fifteen hour night shifts.

Following the recommendations of a resolution advisory panel and a union vote in December, the union agreed in principle yesterday to a 10-and-a-half hour day shift and 13-and-a-half hour night shift.


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Discussions were held at a London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) meeting at LFB headquarters in Southwark and the union will hold a further meeting today before an official agreement is reached.

LFEPA chairman, Councillor Brian Coleman, said: “I’m delighted common sense has prevailed after two completely unnecessary strikes.

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“[The] announcement paves the way to end a dispute we’ve been fighting for six years, if accepted by the FBU’s regional committee.

“It demonstrates clear acceptance from the union to changes that will make Londoners safer.”

A union spokesperson was unavailable for comment.

The return of 27 fire engines taken from London fire stations last year, including Poplar and Whitechapel, to act as strike cover is still to be resolved.

A LFB spokesman said today that the Brigade would return the engines as soon as possible once an official agreement is reached.

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