Fire Brigades Union votes in favour of strike action, fortnight after Romford Fire Station stripped of engine
PUBLISHED: 09:53 30 August 2013 | UPDATED: 09:53 30 August 2013
Firefighters’ threat of industrial action, which moved brigade chiefs to temporarily strip Romford of a fire engine, is a step closer to becoming reality after union members voted in favour of striking.
Results of the national ballot were announced last night. Union bosses say pension changes could lead to thousands getting the sack or being forced to work until the age of 60.
FBU rep Joe MacVeigh, who used to work at Hornchurch Fire Station and now lives in Gidea Park, said: “The fact the government wants firefighters to pay more, work longer and receive less is an insult to these hardworking, dedicated professionals, and they were left with no option but to vote for possible strike action.
“Firefighters working until they’re 60 on frontline operations is madness and is clearly wrong.
“The FBU has asked for the position to be looked at again and the government has to be prepared to listen – otherwise there will be no fire service due to industrial action.”
London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “It’s a pity we are in this position, but we are prepared and our contingency fire service is ready to operate during a strike. Last month we temporarily removed 27 fire engines from stations across London and these will be used by contingency crews to provide a level of fire cover for the capital.
“During a strike, my advice to the public would be to take even greater care to prevent fires from breaking out at home. Simple steps like keeping a really close eye on cooking and making sure cigarettes are disposed of properly can make all the difference.”
London Fire Brigade attracted the union’s censure earlier this month when it took the engine from Romford more than two weeks before the ballot result was even announced.
It was one of 27 that will be used to provide a skeleton service if a strike goes ahead.
Industrial action could still be called off if union chiefs can reach an agreement with the government over the pension scheme.
If no solution can be found, the strike must go ahead within 28 days of the ballot to be legal.
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