BARNET'S London Assembly member has said firefighters will be the “only losers” after voting to strike against proposed changes to their work patterns.

Yesterday London's firefighters voted overwhelmingly to take the action over plansto change the length of day and night shifts to 12 hours each.

Brian Coleman, chairman of the London Fire Authority, said: “It’s disappointing and saddening that the only losers in all of this will be firefighters.

“A strike by the FBU will be unnecessary, unjustified and viewed unsympathetically by Londoners. This dispute centres on proposed changes to make people safer.”

The authority claims the changes will help firefighters get more training during the day and stop a change of shift during rush hours in the morning and evening when demand is highest.

However, firefighters say they took the action after receiving redundancy notices from the London Fire Brigade after refusing to take the changes, meaning they have to reapply for their jobs.

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said: “This is a huge vote for strike action. Firefighters hate going on strike, but they hate being bullied even more.

“This vote demonstrates that London firefighters will fight these mass sackings every step of the way.

“The London Fire Brigade now needs to lift the sacking notices and start negotiating properly. I hope that even at this late stage, Ron Dobson will do the sensible thing, so we can get round a table with him and sort out our differences over shift patterns without a gun being held to our heads.”

The union is expected to meet today to iron out strike dates and the LFB has withdrawn 27 engines from across London from service in preparation for any walkouts.