PICKET lines will be set up outside fire stations across the borough today as the eight-hour firefighters' strike goes ahead.

Last minute talks to advert the industrial action broke down yesterday and crews will continue their walk-out from 10am today.

The dispute is over changes to contracts and working patterns, and fire brigade union bosses said the London Fire Brigade (LFB) “point blank refused” to lift the threat to sack 5,500 firefighters.

Barnet Trades Union Council (TUC) has come out in support of the firefighters, with members expected to join protests outside some of the borough's fire stations.

In a letter to the Times Series on behalf of the TUC, publicity officer Vicki Morris wrote: “No group of workers should tolerate this level of bullying by their management, and the public they serve should not tolerate it either.

“We hope that Barnet residents will visit picket lines at fire stations on Monday, November 1, from 10am to hear the firefighters’ side of the story, and support the firefighters where they can.”

She also attacked Barnet Councillor and GLA member, Brian Coleman, who is head of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.

She wrote: “We believe that Mr Coleman is behaving recklessly.

“He is bullying a group of loyal public servants and in so doing jeopardising London’s fire service.”

LFB assistant commissioner David Brown said the brigade was “extremely disappointed” the talks broke down and branded the strike “reckless and completely irresponsible”.

Both side have offered further scope for talks on the issues, although no final date has been agreed.

Firefighters are again due to strike on November 5 from 10am until November 7 at 9am.

Cover throughout the period will be provided by private firm AssetCo.