Rows over contracts have prompted thousands of fire-fighters to vote on whether to take industrial action. The London Fire Brigade Union said it will ballot about 6,000 members in the capital on action short of a strike.

The problems started from the brigade announcing earlier this month it was starting consultations on terminating existing employment contracts and re-engaging fire-fighters on new start and finishing times to shifts.

Matt Wrack FBU general secretary says “The proposal to end the contracts of all London fire-fighters is the most disgraceful thing I have ever seen in the fire service”
“It’s a great shame that London fire-fighters have to consider industrial action, but they won’t tolerate attempts to threaten or intimidate them.

He added: “The people who are taking these decisions about cutting the service and reducing night-time fire cover in London have not the first idea what fire fighting is all about.”

London Fire Brigade Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “This is totally unnecessary. These changes are about doing all that we possibly can with existing resources to make Londoners safe.”