Fire Brigades Union Calls Off Bonfire Night Strike

Last minute change of mind due to safety reasons

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The Fire Brigades Union has called off the strike planned in London for this weekend - the busiest of the year for the service - due to concerns about public safety.

The strike was planned to run from 10am on Friday November 5 through till 9am on Sunday, despite the fact that bonfire celebrations are taking place across the capital on both Friday and Saturday evenings.

Over 5,500 firefighters were due to take part in the strike but on Thursday evening, it was announced the action had been cancelled.

" We have listened to the concerns about public safety and we have watched the work of the private contractors who are supposed to protect Londoners with mounting concern," said Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union.

The union is in dispute with London Fire Brigade over proposed changes in shift patterns, but the Brigade says that following negotiations held on Thursday, the union agreed to call off the strike action and agreed to attend a meeting of the Resolution Advisory Panel, an independently-chaired body that can make recommendations to resolve the dispute. The meeting is due to take place on November 16.

" This is a sensible move," said London’s fire authority Chairman Brian Coleman: " These strikes have always been unjustified, unnecessary and utterly avoidable."

November 4, 2010