Health and safety concerns have resulted in fire fighter union leaders agreeing to call off a planned strike today.

Union members were due to walk out for 47 hours from 10am this morning; covering what is traditionally the busiest night of the year for the fire service. Yesterday, the London Fire Brigade said the union had agreed to call off the strike and to attend talks on November 16.

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said his members had ‘watched the work of the private contractors who are supposed to protect Londoners with mounting concern’.

Fire minister Bob Neill said: ‘I am glad that sense has prevailed.

‘We have said all along that striking on bonfire night was inappropriate. I now urge the FBU to go back to the negotiating table and resolve this dispute.’
The union has staged two eight-hour strikes, claiming firefighters would be sacked if they did not accept a new shift system.

If an agreement is reached, the process of re-engaging firefighters on new terms and conditions would be taken away, the brigade added.

It had drawn up contingency plans,involving private operator AssetCo. Earlier, the FBU had given an undertaking in the High Court not to hinder or intimidate emergency crews during the strike.