Bonfire Night fire strike called off

A planned Bonfire Night strike by thousands of firefighters in a bitter row over new contracts was dramatically called off tonight just hours before it was due to start.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union in London were due to walk out for 47 hours from 10am tomorrow, leaving staff from a private firm to provide emergency cover over the busiest period of the year.



But following a meeting of FBU leaders, it was announced that the union had decided to cancel the strike after concerns about public safety as well as progress in peace talks.



The London Fire Brigade and the Government welcomed the move, which means that contingency plans for dealing with industrial action will not be needed.



Staff from private firm AssetCo had been lined up to provide emergency cover, using 27 fire engines instead of the usual 150 available in the capital.



The fire brigade said that, following negotiations with the FBU today, the union has agreed to call off the strike action and had agreed to attend a meeting of the Resolution Advisory Panel, an independently-chaired body that can make recommendations to resolve the dispute.



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



London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: "My intention has always been to reach an agreement on proposals that will make Londoners safer and firefighters safer. Going to an independently-chaired body to help us seek a way forward is a step in the right direction."



The panel will meet on November 16 and, if an agreement is reached, the brigade said the process of re-engaging firefighters on new terms and conditions would be withdrawn.



The union has staged two eight-hour strikes, claiming that firefighters would be sacked if they do not accept a new shift system.



FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: "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."



Fire Minister Bob Neill said: "I am glad that sense has prevailed. We have said all along that striking on Bonfire Night was inappropriate.



"I now urge the FBU to go back to the negotiating table and resolve this dispute through reasoned debate."



The union had earlier given an undertaking in the High Court not to hinder or intimidate the emergency crews from AssetCo, if the strike had gone ahead.



London Fire Brigade went to court seeking an injunction but the matter was settled by agreement after a short hearing.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
The Manchester United team walk out ahead of the pre-season friendly between Manchester United and Inter Milan at FedExField
News
i100
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
News
media
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Manager, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum, Benefits: Excellent Uncapped Commission Structure: ...

Sales Executive, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting entertainment comp...

Javascript Developer

£55000 - £75000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: FRONT-END D...

Opportunities for SEN Teachers and Support Staff

£50 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you looking for a new a...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz