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Posted on 14 October 2010 at 10:49 GMT

London firefighters vote by large majority to strike

Fire Brigades Union firefighters marched to protest outside the London Fire Authority, photo Suzanne Beishon

Fire Brigades Union firefighters marched to protest outside the London Fire Authority, photo Suzanne Beishon

London's firefighters have voted overwhelmingly for strike action - 79% voted in favour of strike action on a turnout of 79%.

Steve White, Poplar Fire Brigades Union rep

Not surprising really, since Ron Dobson, the Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, will begin sacking us all on 26 November.

The reason he's sacking us is he wants to force through new contracts with different hours of work. Steve White, Poplar Fire Brigades Union

The commissioner will deny that it's anything to do with cuts, but FBU members in London know better, because we've already seen the proposals to close ten fire stations at night once he's equalised the shifts.

But it's worse than that. In order to facilitate strike-breaking by a private company (whose board of directors includes former deputy commissioner Roy Bishop) he's already removed 27 fire engines from fire stations across London.

2,500 uniformed firefighters marched with Fire Brigades Union (FBU) flags and placards to protest outside the London Fire Authority (LFA), , photo Suzanne Beishon

2,500 uniformed firefighters marched with Fire Brigades Union (FBU) flags and placards to protest outside the London Fire Authority (LFA), , photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

That's without consulting firefighters, the union, or the public that the fire engines were there to protect.

Mr Dobson and his principal managers have acted like playground bullies since the start of this dispute.

They've refused to negotiate seriously, they've threatened firefighters in attempts to get them to work outside their contracts, they've threatened to sack the whole workforce in order to get their way and now they've unilaterally removed fire engines from operational fire stations, making Londoners less safe from fires and all the other emergencies routinely attended by firefighters.

I'm glad that the membership of the Fire Brigades Union are prepared to stand up to the bullies. Right now the FBU and striking firefighters are the only thing standing in the way of cuts to London's fire cover.

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