To Londoners, firefighters are heroes. These are men and women prepared to risk their lives to keep the people of the capital safe, and the admiration for the London Fire Brigade up until now has been so high, it seemed that would never change. That admiration is now in jeopardy, because the London Fire Brigade is about to strike and the date they have picked for the strike is November 5th, Fireworks Day.
Londoners have always believed that firemen cared deeply about the safety of the public, and now that belief is called into question. On the ITV news tonight, there was also a report that the men who are replacing the firemen who strike are being hassled for filling the breach.
This is all dreadfully sad. David Cameron has condemned the date of the strike as reckless and cynical. Boris has pledged he is doing his utmost to protect the capital, but he will not surrender, now or ever, to strike action. Understandably, the firemen dislike the change of hours that will be imposed by their employers, but then again, they have jobs to go to, and thousands have not. We all have to make compromises. In the famous film about fire fighters, Backdraft, the firemen are such a tightly knit, devoted unit, they have a saying, each to the other. “If you go, we go.” London says to the London Fire Brigade “If you go, (and strike on 5th November, ) we cannot go with you.”
UPDATE. London firemen only work 71 days a year and 71 nights a year. They have 4 free days in every 8 days, plus special paid leave of 21 days. If they have 30 year service, they can retire at the age of 50 in full pay. A competent fireman earns £33,220 p.a. for the days explained above, which is £600 more than the average salary in the capital. The rest of the amazing perks enjoyed by firemen are listed here.