Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

October 22, 2010 06:33 ET

London Firefighters' Strike to Go Ahead After Fire Brigade Refuses to Withdraw Sacking Letters

LONDON, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Oct. 22, 2010) - London's 5,600 firefighters will go on strike at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday) morning, and will stay out until 6 p.m., after the London Fire Brigade sent them all letters of dismissal on 11 August.

"It is a terrible step to have to take" says Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack, who will join the walkout at Euston fire station. "But London's firefighters feel it is the only step they can now take."

They are taking the action because, on 11 August, the London Fire Brigade formally began the legal process of terminating the employment contracts of 5,600 London firefighters. 

"If they had not started that process, we would not be going on strike. If the dismissals are lifted now, the strike will be called off straight away" said Mr Wrack.

He added: "People say to me: it can't be that simple. But it is. Firefighters hate going on strike, but they hate being bullied even more. The London Fire Brigade is trying to bully them, and they won't have it. That's why there was a 79 per cent majority in our ballot for a strike, on a 79 per cent turnout; a huge mandate by any standards."

The London Fire Brigade was acting under section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. If, 90 days after it sent out the letters, the firefighters have not reached an agreement which is satisfactory to the employer, the London Fire Brigade has placed itself in a position where it may legally sack all of London's 5,600 firefighters and offer them re-employment on a unilaterally imposed contract.

"It is a process which is designed to avoid having to negotiate a settlement" said Mr Wrack. "Why negotiate when you can sack everyone and impose new contracts?"

Matt Wrack will lead the walkout at Euston fire station on Euston Road at 10 a.m. tomorrow. It is the first of two days' planned strike action; the second is on November 1.

London firefighters have been taking industrial action short of a strike over the mass sackings threat, including a ban on overtime and "acting up", since September 24. 


Provisionally, FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack's programme on Saturday morning will be:

At 10 a.m. he will lead his members out of the door at Euston fire station in Euston Road.

At 11 a.m. he will speak in Chalcot Street at the start of the demonstration against the cuts.

He will then visit other picket lines during the day until the return to work at 6pm and will be available for interview throughout.

Contact Information

  • FBU media contacts on Saturday
    will be Helen Hague on 07889 792360
    or 0208 340 5571;
    and Francis Beckett, who will be accompanying
    Matt Wrack, on 07813 001372.