Strike negotiations loom as firefighters await ballot result
Firefighters voting on possible walkouts over a dispute about working hours
The London Fire Brigade (LFB) is preparing for strike negotiations as it awaits the results of a ballot on proposed walkouts.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) based in the capital have been voting on whether to take part in industrial action over a dispute about working hours.
The LFB has arranged a contingency plan for the potential strikes by paying a private firm to provide 700 civilians who will operate 27 fire engines, around a fifth of the usual fleet of 169 vehicles.
London fire commissioner Ron Dobson said: "This is not a decision that has been taken lightly and even at this late stage I am urging firefighters to consider the effects strike action might have.
"London's fire authority has a legal duty to provide a fire and rescue service at all times, including during a strike. We are no longer able to turn to the military as we did during the last strike in 2002/3."