London will be without full-time fire cover on one of the busiest nights of the year after firefighters announced a strike on Bonfire Night.
In an escalating row over new contracts, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said thousands of its members would walk out from 10am on November 5 to 9am on November 7, covering one of the fire service’s busiest periods.
Fire service minister Bob Neill condemned the action, saying: “The timing of this action appears to be deliberate to cause maximum risk to Londoners.
“This walkout is reckless and cynical and does no credit to the fire service.
“The public will not think this is a responsible way of conducting industrial action. I thought this kind of old fashioned militant muscle flexing was a thing of the past.”
The announcement follows an eight-hour stoppage on Saturday and plans for another eight-hour strike next Monday, November 1, with the union claiming that firefighters were being threatened with the sack if they did not agree to new shift patterns.
Whilst we recognise the rights of all workers to withdraw their labour this seems a particularly cynical attempt to force the changes to be abandoned. Is it right that lives may be put at risk because of an employment dispute?