Redbridge firefighters begin industrial action

FIREFIGHTERS across the borough are refusing to work overtime or take on any extra duties following a row about new contracts.

The action short of a strike means that crews at Ilford, Hainault and Woodford fire stations will join colleagues across the capital in refusing to “act up” or work outside of their contracted hours.

Similar action last year led to Ilford Fire Station being deserted for several hours at a time when crews were called to cover for colleagues at other stations, where there were not enough qualified staff.

The Fire Brigade Union claims firefighters have been threatened with the sack unless they take on a new 12 hour shift pattern.

A spokesman said: “LFB’s sacking notices were designed to pressurise firefighters into accepting new shift patterns.

“The change from the present shift patterns of two nine hour day shifts and two fifteen hour night shifts a week could also pave the way for a reduction of night-time fire cover.

“In addition it would mean that firefighters with young families seldom get to see their children.”

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London Fire Brigade said it began a consultation process to terminate contracts and offer firefighters new ones after five years of discussion and only on the basis that there is a further three months of talks.

Firefighters are also being balloted over whether to go on strike and the results will be announced in October.

Cllr Brian Coleman, chairman of the fire authority, which runs London Fire Brigade, said:“I expect changes to the way the fire and rescue service is run to generate debate but there is no need for firefighters to lose money by taking strike action that will not resolve this dispute.”

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