Independent talks to be held in London firefighters row

FIRE chiefs and union bosses will attend an independently chaired panel later this month to discuss their differences in a row about new contracts.

The move comes after the Fire Brigade Union called off a 47-hour strike due to begin at 10am today.

The FBU put a plan to London Fire Brigade last night, which it said would allow the industrial action to be averted.

It said its offer follows fears about public safety on Bonfire Night - tonight - and concerns that a private firm brought in to provide cover during the strike would not be able to cope.

Crews from Ilford, Woodford and Hainault stations were due to join the walkout, which critics had deemed “reckless.”

FBU was angry about “sacking notices” which had been sent to staff and plans to change shift patterns.

Two eight hour strikes have been staged in the last two weeks.

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London’s fire authority chairman Brian Coleman said: “This is a sensible move.

“These strikes have always been unjustified, unnecessary and utterly avoidable.”

The independent panel will meet on November 16.