Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Firefighters' Strikes Will Cost London [Pounds Sterling]100 Million a Day in Lost Productivity

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Firefighters' Strikes Will Cost London [Pounds Sterling]100 Million a Day in Lost Productivity

Article excerpt

Byline: DICK MURRAY

THE cost to London of the firefighters' strikes - which begin next Tuesday - could be more than pound sterling100 million a day, say financial experts.

Spread over the whole of the country, with mainline train networks shut down because staff refuse to work, the losses soar to pound sterling200 million a day - meaning a pound sterling7.2billion bill during the 36 days of planned strikes.

That's just the cost of the Tube and rail networks being closed. When everything else is taken into account, including property destroyed because there is no fire protection, the bill for the strikes hits pound sterling10billion.

Maurice Fitzpatrick, head of economics at accounts Tenon, puts the cost of the Tube closing at pound sterling75million a day; mainline rail services across the UK at pound sterling115million and other metro/ underground networks including the Docklands Light Railway, at pound sterling10 million.

"Were the rail and Tube networks to be shut," said Mr Fitzpatrick, "the impact on both the UK economy and the public finances would swiftly become measurable." Commuters, London Underground and the mainline rail operators will not know until the very last moment whether there will be a service.

One senior LU manager said: " During previous strike action by the Tube unions we had a pretty good idea in advance what, if anything, we will be able to run.

"This is a different situation. We don't know how many of our staff are going to turn up."

Staff who don't turn up will not be paid and could face the sack if they persist in not reporting for work throughout the fire strike days.

Mainline train operators also do not know how many staff may stay away or what services will run.

The firefighters' strikes - the first for more than 25 years - are in response to a 40 per cent pay claim lodged by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) which is demanding a pound sterling30,000 a year basic rate. …

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