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Bromley Firefighters will strike on Bonfire Night

PUBLISHED: 12:46 03 November 2010

Beckenham strike

Beckenham strike

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Striking fire crews claim they have public support for the series of walkouts which will include Bonfire Night.

Beckenham strike

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) held their second series of strikes across the capital on Monday at 10am after a dispute over shift changes.

The FBU said it would call off the action immediately if a section 188 clause in their contracts, which fire fighters claim effectively sacks them if they don’t agree to shift changes, is removed. It claims the proposed shift changes will lead to the overall London Fire Brigade being reduced as members quit or are dismissed for not signing the new contracts, leading to some stations being unmanned overnight. After the eight hour strike on Monday which is due to be followed by a 47 hour walkout tomorrow (Friday), the union’s Bromley representative John McIntyre said: “We do have a lot of support for the strike, and the Fire Brigade can cancel the strike at an instant by removing the section 188 notice.

“The fire cover provided was completely insignificant. The only cover for the whole borough was out of Croydon fire station. The only bases for fire appliances in south London were in Croydon, Old Kent Road and Wandsworth.

“A crew from Blue Watch went on a shout to the Bethlem Hospital at 9.50am but it was a false alarm. When they got back to Beckenham station the private security guard employed to keep us out wouldn’t let the appliance back into the building. “Because the appliance was locked out of the building we couldn’t charge the radios. It is absolutely disgusting – the brigade aren’t doing anything to enamour anyone.”

Beckenham strike

Throughout the capital 27 fire engines responded to 20 incidents, on Monday, including eight fires.

As part of the Comprehensive Spending Review the London Fire Brigade will have to make 25 per cent savings over a four year period.

London Fire Commissioner, Ron Dobson, said: “Firefighters now need to ask their union representatives what this strike is really achieving, and why they cannot reach agreement with us on our revised offer of an 11 hour day and 13 hour night.”

The large fireworks display and bonfire which are due to be held on Saturday on Chislehurst Recreation Ground in Empress Drive, were still going ahead, at the time of going to press.

The fundraiser of Chislehurst Rotary Club which organisers the display, Tony Wiffen, said: “We have done an evaluation and we are confident that it is safe.”

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