The London Assembly has unanimously urged Mayor Boris Johnson to lobby the Government to sit down with the Fire Brigades Union and agree a deal to avert yet further industrial action over a pensions dispute.
Assembly Members backed a motion recognising that proposed changes to pension rights will have a major impact on firefighters in the capital, including changes to retirement age, contribution rates and commutation arrangements.
James Cleverly AM, who successfully amended the motion, said: "London’s firefighters do a fantastic job and today the Assembly agreed that the FBU needs to work with government to come to a mutually agreeable position over pensions. It is understandable that many firefighters are concerned by the proposed changes to their pensions and the ongoing uncertainty isn’t good for either them or Londoners as a whole.”
"That’s why it’s essential that the FBU and the Government get back to the negotiating table and work out a way forward that avoids further industrial action."
However, the talks will only take place after the fifth and sixth strikes of the current dispute with the FBU announcing that its members in England and Wales will take strike action again next weekend, Friday 13 and Saturday 14 December, both from 18:00 to 22:00.
After announcing the latest round of strikes FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: "We cannot stand by and do nothing as our members’ conditions of service are eroded. The government has refused to take account of the issue, confining itself to issuing misleading propaganda about ‘generous pensions’. These strikes are intended to ensure we cannot be ignored."
Despite the ongoing dispute, LFB Commissioner Ron Dobson has reassured Londoners that the capital would have “the fire cover it needs at all times”.