FBU accuses London mayor Boris Johnson of ‘hammering a “For Sale” sign on front doors of 17 fire stations’. (Image courtesy of FBU)

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The FBU has expressed ‘grave concerns’ over proposals by the London Fire Brigade to close 17 fire stations and slash around 600 jobs.

(Pictured: FBU London members on TUC March for the Alternative, 2011. Image courtesy of FBU)

The plans, revealed in a leaked document yesterday, are due to be put before a meeting of the London fire authority next month.

The FBU says the proposals also include the removal of a fire appliance from four stations.

The plans follow a demand from the London mayor, Boris Johnson for budget cuts of £65m over two years.

The FBU’s regional secretary for London, Paul Embery, said: “These proposals present the biggest threat to the London Fire Brigade since the days of the Luftwaffe and would lead to the decimation of fire cover in London.

“The stations under threat of closure have stood proudly for generations, protecting local residents from bombs, fire and terrorism, yet Boris Johnson is about to hammer a ‘For Sale’ sign on to their front doors.

“We do not believe that cuts of this scale can be achieved without there being an impact on public safety, and we call on Londoners to join with us in defending our fire service.”

Under the plans, fire stations are earmarked for closure right across the capital, from Acton to Woolwich, with the cuts to appliances concentrated in east London and Essex.

Officials says they are disappointed that the union learned about the proposed cuts from a leak to the media, despite a commitment by managers that it would be kept informed at all stages.

They are also disputing ‘risky’ management claims that attendance times and ensuring adequate resources to respond to emergencies will not be affected by these cuts.

Says Paul Embery: “All around the country, chief fire officers are beginning to warn publicly of the danger of catastrophic cuts.

“So far, the commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, Ron Dobson, has remained silent, but surely now it is time for him to speak up.

“The London Fire Brigade is a proud organisation with a fine history. But it is now facing possibly its greatest challenge. Its leaders must do the right thing and tell the politicians these cuts are wrong and dangerous.

“If they don’t do it, the FBU will.”

The union is organising a lobby of MPs, scheduled for 7 November.


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