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Fire union strike goes ahead this weekend

PUBLISHED: 17:49 22 October 2010

Whitechapel Fire Station

Whitechapel Fire Station

Carmen Valino

London Fire Brigade offers advice to the public ahead of Saturday's fire strike

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will strike tomorrow across London over an ongoing dispute on proposed changes to shift times.

Firefighters will walk out at 10am on Saturday (October 23) from Tower Hamlets fire stations and across London and will stay out until 6pm.

The FBU is contesting London Fire Brigade’s (LFB) demand for firefighters to standardise their shift patterns from nine to 12 hour day shifts and from 15 to 12 hour night shifts.

The LFB has a contingency service in place to respond to emergencies during the strike after removing 27 fire engines from London fire stations, including one each from Poplar and Whitechapel stations.

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “We’ll be responding to 999 calls and doing everything we can to protect the public during this unnecessary FBU strike using our contingency plans.

“The public can really help us by taking extra care and taking time to think about fire safety.”

A LFB spokesperson said the Brigade may not be able to respond to less urgent and non life-threatening incidents and called on east Londoners to check their smoke alarms, take extra care when cooking or smoking and to only dial 999 in a genuine emergency.

A failure to resolve the dispute could lead to mass redundancies in the fire service.

Matt Wrack, the FBU general secretary, said: “Firefighters hate going on strike, but they hate being bullied even more.

“The LFB is trying to bully them, and they won’t have it.

“That’s why there was a 79 per cent majority in our ballot for a strike, on a 79 per cent turnout; a huge mandate by any standards.”

A second strike is planned for November 1.

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