London firefighters today voted by 3482 to 943 to take strike action unless London Fire Brigade Commissioner Ron Dobson withdraws his letter of 11 August which began the legal process of sacking the capital’s 5557 uniformed and 41 non-operational firefighters. The majority was 79% and the turnout was 79%
Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said: “This is a huge vote for strike action. Firefighters hate going on strike – but they hate being bullied even more. This vote demonstrates that London firefighters will fight these mass sackings every step of the way. The London Fire Brigade now needs to lift the sacking notices and start negotiating properly. I hope that even at this late stage, Ron Dobson will do the sensible thing, so that we can get round a table with him and sort out our differences over shift patterns without a gun being held to our heads.”
Strike dates will not be announced today. “We are holding off announcing strike dates for 24 hours in order to give the London Fire Brigade a last chance to do the sensible thing and withdraw the letters of dismissal so we can return to negotiating on the question of shift patterns” says FBU executive member for London Ian Leahair.
If there is no word from the London Fire Brigade, the regional committee will meet with Matt Wrack on Friday to discuss setting dates for strikes.
London firefighters have been taking action short of a strike, including an overtime ban and a ban on “acting up”, since Friday 24 September.