December 10 2013 Latest news:
Monday, November 4, 2013
The London Fire Brigade (LFB) advised people to stay “safely tucked up in bed” as firefighters took part in a two-hour strike this morning as part of a long-running row with the government over pensions.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) walked out between 6am and 8am, leaving private contractors to provide a contingency level of emergency cover.
The FBU’s dispute relates to government changes to pensions which mean firefighters could have to work into their late 50s, and which the union claims could leave firefighters out of a job with a reduced pension if they fail rigorous capability assessments.
Today’s action was the latest in a series of strikes, including one on Friday evening which critics accused of being planned just ahead of Diwali and Bonfire Night to cause maximum disruption.
LFB tweeted updates throughout the morning, reporting one incident.
“Fire Brigades Union strike action between 6am & 8am. It’s a cold and wet day in London so if you can, stay safely tucked up in bed #Monday,” it wrote, later adding: “Cold, wet & dark start to Monday & with a Fire Brigades Union strike from 6 till 8am why not have an extra hour or 2 safely in bed. #snooze”.
Crews were called to a flat fire in east London. “We’ve dealt with a fire in a block of flats on Saint Leonards St in Bromley by Bow. Control officers gave survival guidance to residents,” LFB tweeted.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “Friday’s strike was solid around the country, and there was a huge amount of public sympathy on show on picket lines, online and via the media.
“By worsening the proposals for firefighters’ pensions, the government has now put a further obstacle in the way of negotiations, but after two years of talks the Fire Brigades Union remain committed to a resolution.
“No firefighter wanted a strike, but we must defend the fire service, public safety and our pensions.”
Ahead of the action, Fire Minister Brandon Lewis said: “This strike action by the FBU is completely unnecessary and does nothing but damage the good reputation firefighters have with the public.
“We offered firefighters similar fitness principles to those the FBU accepted in Scotland. The FBU should reconsider their decision to strike - announced just four days into discussions - and work for a resolution to this dispute.”