27 Fire Engines Withdrawn From Use Ahead Of Possible Strike

London Fire Brigade withdrew a fifth of the city’s engines yesterday in preparation for possible strike action by the Fire Brigade Union. 27 fire engines have been taken out of service so that, in the event of industrial action, they can be used now LFB are no longer allowed to call on the army’s Green Goddesses. The FBU aren’t due to even report ballot results until today, and have condemned the surprise removal of equipment from stations where staff are still working and ready to use it.

LFB and the FBU are arguing over new shift patterns and the somewhat heavy-handed approach taken to implementing them (LFB threatened to sack all firefighters and only re-hire them on the new contracts). The FBU has been on an overtime ban since 24th September, but despite both sides calling for conciliation, the dispute has degenerated to the brink of a strike.

LFB says taking away the fire engines is just safeguarding its ability to fulfil its “legal duty to provide a fire and rescue service at all times”, while the Union has declared it “nothing but provocation”. Was it a little hasty, or entirely justified to protect us?

3.30pm edit: FBU members have voted 79% in favour of strikes, on a turnout of 79%. According to the Socialist Worker, the FBU will announce strike dates tomorrow and could walk out as early as next Friday. Which leaves us wondering – if they can’t strike until next week, why did LFB take the engines away now?

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  • http://undefined Robert

    LFB are clearly determined to defeat the FBU, victory to the firefighters!!

  • http://undefined Dave Stely

    As a serving FF in London, this strike is the last resort and none of us, I repeat NONE of us want to strike, we have been forced to take this measure as we have been bullied and harassed into this by our bosses and the infamous brian coleman. Its not about us wanting more money (we have taken a paycut and are having our wages frozen), its not about us sleeping (even tho most of you would want a rested FF if you needed us in the middle of the night), its not about us wanting to do a 2nd job (which only some of us need due to not being able to afford to live in London), its not about wanting more time to play snooker or watch tele (we are now always training, learning new procedures, doing CFS, or premises visits, oh and we often don’t even get a full hour lunch/dinner break due to this and we need to prepare all the food in that time). . Its about us being bullied by them into them wanting to change the current shift system (which incidentally works brilliantly and we also hit all our targets on this current system) its so they can make the 25% cuts in our service, which means job loses, station closures, loss of fire engines and reduction in overall fire cover in london. Oh and the finer detail is they have threatened all 5500 firefighters with the sack, so they can re-employ us on a new contract to facilitate these cuts, they are using clever people on lots of money to word it all, so it looks like we’re being unfair, the truth is out there if you look at some of the pages on social networking sites. . So anyone out there who are saying we’re ‘selfish’, ‘sack them all’, their being unprofessional’ etc etc. . Do you want the fire brigade to protect you and your families and for us to be there when you really need us, or cross your fingers and hope that the station that has had one fire engine taken away, isnt on another shout and you need to wait for the closest station to get to you. . hmmmm, 3 mins of smoke inhalation and the brain is dead. . think about it. What do you want from a service that YOU pay for???? Yes i’m biased but if I wasn’t in the service then I would want whats best for me and my family and thats for the LFB to turn up when I need them.

  • skaman

    I am sick and tired of hearing about firemen moaning about pay and conditions, you have a good deal in terms of the job you do which is fantastic, but compare that to the army and the comparison is massive, for fireman to strike for any reason whatso ever is wrong you simply put lives at risk, I could never have done that in the army, also you put me at risk during last big strike in that I had man an engine whilst not being fully trained, I still did it, so you actually put the public and the poor sods who have to save these people at risk, sorry but I dont have no sympathy whats so ever