Firefighters' strike will close down Tube stations

Some of London Underground's busiest stations will be closed during the expected strikes by firefighters, causing severe disruption for passengers.

At least 19 stations, where passenger access is primarily by lift, will be shut during the stoppages, which begin in less than two weeks' time and could last up to eight days.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is expected to announce an overwhelming vote for national walkouts this Friday, with the first industrial action to come seven days later.

London Underground said the following stations would definitely close: Wapping, Belsize Park, Borough, Caledonian Road, Covent Garden, the Bakerloo line section of Edgware Road, Elephant and Castle, Gloucester Road, Goodge Street, Hampstead, Holland Park, Kennington, Lambeth North, Lancaster Gate, Mornington Crescent, Queensway, Regent's Park, Russell Square and Tufnell Park.

Trains will run through the stations without stopping, but management said services would be maintained.

"Although there is a minimal increase in danger, we want to err on the side of safety," a spokeswoman said. She said there were no plans to close any other stations or halt services, but the RMT rail union has warned that its members may stop work on health and safety ground, and other stations could be affected. During the last national firefighters' strike in 1977-78 Tube services continued as normal, but legislation introduced after the King's Cross disaster has tightened regulations.

The FBU is threatening industrial action in protest at a 4 per cent pay rise offer instead of the 40 per cent it is demanding, which would put firefighters on £30,000 a year. The union has refused to participate in a government-backed review of modernisation and pay in the service which is due to report in mid-December.

Air travel is likely to continue as normal, despite an admission by the office of the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, that safety cover will be inferior. The Civil Aviation Authority has scrutinised plans drawn up by airports and will allow flights to continue.

Firefighters employed by the main airports are not involved in the dispute. But airport operators and local authorities are dutybound to draw up plans for major emergencies which could require the involvement of outside fire brigades.

Eurotunnel, which runs the Channel Tunnel, also plans to continue services despite warnings from the FBU that such operations would be unsafe. A spokesman said the company's representatives were in talks with the Kent fire brigade and French authorities to ensure that the rail link was maintained. But the FBU said it had assurances from colleagues in France that they would not provide cover for the whole tunnel.

The union has warned that it would be unsafe for rail services to continue when its members' work was being undertaken by "poorly trained" soldiers manning 50-year-old Green Goddess fire engines.

During the first national strike in 1977-78, senior fire officers were not involved in the industrial action and were deployed on the Green Goddesses. Since then, more senior staff have joined the FBU and will therefore be involved in the industrial action.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links