The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has condemned the mayor of London Boris Johnson for refusing to meet with its officials to discuss plans to close 12 fire stations, remove 18 engines and slash 520 frontline firefighter posts.
Members of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) last week defied an order by the mayor to begin a public consultation exercise over the proposed cuts, which, if implemented, would mean 4.7million Londoners across twenty boroughs waiting longer for a fire engine.
In response, the mayor has threatened to take the authority to court.
The FBU wrote to the mayor on 1 February, requesting a meeting to discuss the serious concerns it held about the consequences for public and firefighter safety of the proposed cuts. But, in a reply, the mayor flatly rejected the request.
Ian Leahair, FBU executive council member for London said: “As the organisation representing London’s six thousand firefighters, it is not unreasonable of us to expect that the mayor should meet with us to hear our concerns about the impact of his proposed cuts. It is frankly deplorable that Mr Johnson has refused our request. He is effectively saying that he is completely uninterested in the views of the workforce.
“Sadly, this is not the first time the mayor has rejected a request from us for a meeting. He also refused to meet with us in the run-up to a strike in 2010. In fact, during his entire period in office, the mayor has never met with the representatives of London’s firefighters.
“It’s unfortunate that the mayor seems to think nothing of meeting with discredited City bankers and disgraced media barons such as Rupert Murdoch, but he cannot find time in his diary to listen to the views of the men and women of London’s fire service.
“The mayor is closing his ears to the message that his proposed cuts are dangerous and wrong and would compromise public and firefighter safety.”
Contact: Paul Embery 07854 998 508
19th February 2013