Socialist Worker

Legal fight to stop fire station closures begins

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2381

Firefighters join protest outside court as legal challenge to cuts begins

Firefighters join protest outside court as legal challenge to cuts begins (Pic: Alan Kenny)

Earlier this year, London Mayor Boris Johnson gave the go-ahead for plans to axe 550 firefighter jobs, 10 stations and 14 engines as part of a £28.8million cuts drive. On Tuesday of this week Islington Council led a bid for a judicial review into the closures at the High Court in London.

FBU London secretary Paul Embery said, “These cuts are reckless, wrong and will seriously endanger lives across the capital.

 “If they are implemented, these savings will lead to an increase in response times for four million Londoners.

“So far the Mayor has refused to listen to firefighters, his own fire authority, and the general public. We can only hope now that the courts stop his dangerous plan before it can unfold.”

Firefighters in the FBU union are also being balloted for additional, non-strike action over attacks on their pensions. Firefighters have struck four times in two months.

They are fighting Tory plans to raise the retirement age from 55 to 60, while making it easier to sack workers if they fail to remain operationally fit. The ballot includes control officers and members in Scotland, who were left out of the previous four strikes after the union said it made progress with the Scottish government.

“It’s good that this ballot is involving these areas” said Neale Williams, chair of Dowgate FBU branch in south London. “While we will be voting yes in the ballot, many members don’t want to see action short of a strike take over as the main strategy. 

“We want a strategy that can win—and that’s strikes.”

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Tue 26 Nov 2013, 17:39 GMT
Issue No. 2381
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