Socialist Worker

London firefighters to strike for two days - starting on Bonfire Night

by Tom Walker
Issue No. 2224

Firefighters on the picket line at North Kensington fire station on Saturday (Pic: Valerios Theofanidis)

Firefighters on the picket line at North Kensington fire station on Saturday (Pic: Valerios Theofanidis)

London's firefighters have launched a massive escalation of their strikes by calling a 47-hour walkout – starting at 10am on 5 November.

This means the 5,500 FBU union members will be on strike all the way through Bonfire Night – one of their busiest days of the year.

It comes after the firefighters' solid eight-hour walkout on Saturday all but smashed the bosses' scabbing operation run by private firm AssetCo.

The firefighters have another eight-hour strike planned for next Monday (1 November). But the two-day walkout, coming just four days afterwards, is almost six times longer.

The strike will begin at 10am on Friday 5 November and go on until 9am on Sunday 7 November.

And London's tube workers will boost the action, as they plan to step up their refusals to work over safety while London has no fire cover.

The firefighters are battling their Tory boss Brian Coleman, who has started the process of sacking them all unless they sign new contracts that will mean cuts to night-time fire cover.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said, “We do not want to take this action but we have no choice. The alternative is to allow London's firefighters to become doormats for their employers to walk on.”

And the firefighters are also part of the much wider fight against the Tory government and its brutal cuts agenda.

That's why the whole working class movement must get behind them as they walk out for the kind of strikes that really do have the power to win.

We need to light a fire of solidarity for the firefighters. Make sure you get to their picket lines with a big delegation and an even bigger cash collection – and, if you can, follow the tube workers' example and organise a refusal to work on safety grounds during the strikes.

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