Firefighters begin new wave of strikes in pensions row

London Fire Brigade has said it has contingency plans in place for the next wave of strikes by members of the Fire Brigades Union.

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Minister says fire service strike is "damaging"

Penny Mordaunt MP, from the Department for Communities and Local Government Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The MP with responsibility for the fire service has said the current round of strike action is "damaging".

Penny Mordaunt is the Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser in the Department for Communities and Local Government.

In a letter to the Fire Brigades Union published on the Government's website and dated 7th August, Ms Mordaunt said she would be happy to meet with union representatives if they called off "further damaging industrial action."

In a previous letter to Andy Dark, Assistant General Secretary of the FBU, dated 6th August, she wrote: "The public may rest assured that business continuity and resilience measures have been and will remain in place. But this takes place at a cost to the public purse; to the income of striking firefighters, but also to those who protect their communities during strike action. I know you appreciate that the strain on colleagues who remain at their posts is considerable, and that strike action is both unnecessary and counterproductive."

She ended the letter by saying: "I hope that you will reconsider your decision and call off this reckless and unnecessary action."

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London Fire Brigade will provide "reduced" service

The London Fire Brigade has warned it will be providing a "reduced" service during the 16 strikes by Fire Brigades Union members taking place over eight consecutive days.

In a statement on its website, it said: "The Authority has a legal duty to provide London with an emergency fire and rescue service and has taken action to ensure the continuing provision of a reduced service during a strike (or any other event which deprives the Brigade of its usual workforce).

"The provision, known as ‘CapitalGuard’, is a contracted service providing up to 27 fire engines. It is intended to provide a reduced level of operational capability sufficient to fulfill the Authority’s basic statutory duties."

The service means 27 fire engines will attend a limited range of incidents and that the initial response to calls during the strikes will be to send just one engine.

Fire strike starts at noon

Firefighters on strike at Soho Fire Station in June this year Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Members of the Fire Brigades Union will launch a fresh wave of strikes today - the latest in a long-running row with the Government over proposed changes to pensions.

The first walk out will begin at noon, lasting for two hours. Union members will down tools again for an hour at 11pm. Strikes will be held at the same times for the next eight days. There is currently no sign of a breakthrough in the dispute.

The union has been campaigning for the past few years against Government plans to change pensions. It claims firefighters will have to work longer and receive lower pensions when they retire.

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