Bonfire night strike called off by firefighters

FIREFIGHTERS called off the bonfire night strike last night after all-day negotiations between union and brigade bosses.

A 47-hour strike was due to start at 10am this morning and last until 9am on Sunday but has been called off by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) because it said the threat of mass sackings had been removed.

Both FBU and London Fire Brigade (LFB) managers will attend an independently chaired panel on 16 November to discuss their differences.

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “My intention has always been to reach an agreement on proposals that will make Londoners safer and firefighters safer. Going to an independently-chaired body to help us seek a way forward is a step in the right direction.”

And London’s fire authority chairman Brian Coleman said it was “a sensible move”. “These strikes have always been unjustified, unnecessary and utterly avoidable,” he added.

More than 5,500 firefighters were due to take part in the strike which had been criticised as “irresponsible” by the Prime Minister.

The FBU put a plan to the LFB which it said would allow the industrial action to be averted. It said its offer followed fears about public safety on Bonfire Night and the abilities of stand-in crews employed to cover for striking staff.