Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

June 18, 2013 06:39 ET

FBU to Lobby the Mayor About Cuts

LONDON, ENGLAND--(Marketwired - June 18, 2013) - London firefighters will confront the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, directly tomorrow (19 June) in protest at his plans to close 12 fire stations, remove 18 engines and slash 520 frontline firefighter jobs. Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will join a demonstration outside City Hall at 9.00am, before heading into the building to watch a session of Mayor's Question Time, which commences at 10.00am. They will be joined at the demonstration by Labour politicians and other campaign supporters.

During the three-month-long public consultation process over the cuts, which concluded yesterday, the mayor refused to attend any of the public meetings held by the London fire authority, instead leaving it to the commissioner of the London Fire Brigade to face the wrath of the public. The mayor has also refused to meet with the FBU to hear the union's concerns.

The union's executive council member for London, Ian Leahair, said: "Boris Johnson has been trying to avoid firefighters ever since his planned cuts were announced. Now he can't avoid us any longer. We will be going to City Hall to tell him that his cuts are reckless and wrong. They would lead to an increase in response times for millions of Londoners - a point conceded by the commissioner - and would inevitably cost lives.

"We have recently seen two incidents where casualties trapped in serious fires were rescued with seconds to spare by firefighters from stations on the mayor's hit list. Had the cuts already taken effect, those individuals would almost certainly have died.

"There is widespread hostility to the cuts. Boris Johnson's own fire authority has voted against them, as has the GLA and several local authorities - Conservative ones among them. We have also seen massive public opposition to the cuts.

"The mayor should abandon his plans immediately, and let London's firefighters get on with the business of providing the world-class fire service that the capital deserves."

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