Socialist Worker

Tory boss steals 27 London fire engines

by Tom Walker
Issue No. 2227

London fire brigade bosses are threatening to permanently cut almost one in six of the city’s fire engines—meaning more than 500 firefighters could lose their jobs.

The provocative proposal comes just days after the firefighters’ FBU union called off their strikes against mass sackings.

In the run-up to the strikes the bosses snatched 27 of the 169 fire engines London usually has on duty, and hid them away for private scab firm AssetCo to use. They have still not been returned.

Now, in an outrageous move, hated Tory councillor and fire authority chair Brian Coleman has ordered brigade officials to look into scrapping the 27 engines permanently.

Coleman forced through a surprise last-minute amendment at a fire authority budget meeting. In it he pushes the ridiculous idea that there is an “over-supply” of fire engines in London.

The FBU says it proves cuts “has been the agenda all along”.

Tory toad Coleman makes the stupid claim that the strikes showed there is too much fire cover.

He gloated: “We are really grateful to the FBU for showing us that there are possible efficiencies.”

Coleman was quick to accuse firefighters of risking safety by striking. But cutting fire engines is what will really put lives in danger.

The FBU starts arbitration talks next week after calling off last week’s Bonfire Night strikes.

But now, once again, Coleman and the bosses have shown that they can’t be trusted over any of the promises they’ve made.

That’s why the strikes should be put back on.

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