LPFFA_Metallic_Logo_250wLondon City Council has extinguished a request from the London Professional Fire Fighters Association to speak out during a public meeting.

The request was put forward earlier this month by the association, which has been tangled in contract talks for six years.

Officials wanted a chance to address city councillors instead of bureaucrats who they’ve been negotiating with so far.

The motion failed at the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee meeting last week on a tie vote, and failed again Tuesday night at full council by a vote of 8 to 4.

“I’ve got a personally great respect for the process they have in place,” said Mayor Matt Brown, who voted against the motion.

“It’s a process that we reiterate time and time again that negotiations, should they need to occur, need to happen at the table.”

Councillor Mo Salih was in favour of letting the LPFFA speak to council.

“No, I’m not a labour expert, but what I am, I believe an expert is, is dealing with people, dealing with my constituents, and dealing with with Londoners who have expressed to me concerns on how the way this is going, and how we are being perceived as just shutting out and not allowing people to come communicate with us, or have that conversation with this council,” said Salih.

The fire fighters and City are currently in arbitration, a lengthy battle this is considered to be the longest contract dispute in Canadian fire fighting history. It’s possible a deal may not be reached until 2019.