The Tory-controlled London Fire Authority is expected to vote at an emergency meeting on Thursday to force all frontline staff onto new contracts with changed shift patterns.
The Standard understands that the authority, led by Brian Coleman, has run out of patience with the Fire Brigades Union after almost six years of talks and will press ahead with its “fallback option” of re-employing staff under new terms and conditions.
This is despite firefighters abandoning action — which almost led to a Bonfire Night strike — and 84 per cent of union members voting to accept the recommendations of an independent panel to change their working hours.
The authority is expected to accept a recommendation to “impose” new terms unless an 11th-hour compromise is struck on related working practices, with an official document to be considered on Thursday stating: “The authority would have no option but to consider termination and re-engagement.”
The dispute has gone unresolved since 2005, with the FBU resisting brigade demands for firefighters to work longer day shifts. Staff are expected to have the day shift extended by 90 minutes. Mr Coleman is apparently attempting to change the fire authority's internal rules to prevent political rivals questioning him in public. This comes after Darren Johnson, a Green member of the London Assembly, demanded answers to injuries suffered by firefighters on picket lines.
Mr Johnson claimed: “Prior to the last fire authority meeting, Brian Coleman rang me up and threatened to abolish members' questions at meetings altogether if I went ahead with a question about injuries sustained by picketing firefighters.”
Also, don't read original article comments if you value your forehead.