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Firefighters to hold strike talks

Firefighters are to hold talks with their brigade following a day of strike action in which two picketers were hit by vehicles and taken to hospital.

More than 5,000 walked out on Monday in a row over new contracts, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said.

Two were injured as they picketed fire stations in London and two people were arrested.

The eight-hour stoppage was held in protest at "mass sackings threatened by the end of the month", the union said.

The strike, which saw senior officers walk out alongside rank-and-file staff, followed the collapse of 11th-hour talks between the union and London's fire brigade.

They are set to meet across the table again, this time at the London Fire Brigade (LFB) headquarters in Southwark.

Members of the FBU stopped work from 10am on Monday, forcing the capital's brigade to hire contract staff to provide cover.

One of the striking firefighters was hit by a car in Croydon and taken by air ambulance to St George's Hospital in Tooting, south London, where his condition was not thought to be life-threatening. FBU president Mick Shaw witnessed the incident, which happened at around 3.30pm. He said: "The driver put his foot on the floor. One of our members couldn't get out of the way fast enough. He was thrown several feet away from the car."

The driver of the vehicle was arrested.

A second striking firefighter was hit by a fire engine later, the union said. The vehicle was returning to Southwark fire station when the incident happened. Ian Leahair, FBU executive member for the London region, was taken to hospital with suspected broken ribs after the collision.


From Belfast Telegraph