December 13 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Strike action by firefighters in London seems ‘unavoidable’ after the government refuses to compromise on pensions, says the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
It said progress in Scotland show talks can work if both sides are willing, but failure to reach a deal in Westminster and Cardiff means the union’s members are getting prepared for industrial action in England and Wales.
This comes after Boris Johnson was heckled by members of the FBU at a meeting this week over plans to shut 10 stations, remove 14 fire engines and axe more than 550 jobs.
They protested outside City Hall and packed out the public gallery to express their anger at the Mayor of London’s plans, saying they will put Londoners at risk.
FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack said: “As a result of the refusal of governments in Westminster and Cardiff to see sense on firefighter pensions, it now appears that strike action is unavoidable in England and Wales.
“Almost 80 per cent of firefighters voted in favour of industrial action if no progress could be made, but we have tried everything to avoid strike action being necessary.
“Although we are some way from an agreement, the Scottish government’s decision to engage positively with firefighters, offer improved proposals and not set any arbitrary deadlines for talks demonstrates that progress can be made through talks when both sides are willing.
“However, our strike ballot remains in place in Scotland and our members in Scotland remain ready for action should it be necessary.
“It’s not too late to avoid a strike: the governments of England and Wales must see sense, put public safety first and come back to the negotiating table willing to compromise.”
The union’s executive council met on Thursday to consider the next steps and on Friday, the executive council issued a statement to members saying it had ‘no option’ but to call periods of strike action in England and Wales.
Announcement of strike action are likely to follow soon, said the FBU.
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