Two months ago, Merseyside firefighters overwhelmingly voted to strike against the £3.5 million cuts proposed by the Fire and Rescue Authority and demanded by the government.
Today marked day six of Merseyside FBU's third eight day strike. Unlike in previous disputes, there is no military cover, since the Territorial Army are stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kazakhstan.
Following a weekend of talks, the Authority's chief negotiator Bill Evans said it would take time to study and cost the FBU demands but the talks had gone well.
Negotiations are due to resume on Tuesday afternoon following a fire authority meeting.
Last week, the Liverpool Echo speculated that a system of retained second pumps - with firefighters attending emergency incidents from their homes - had now been agreed at some of the four stations chosen for downgrading. And it was believed that an agreement has been reached for shifts of seven members of staff to work at the central call centre.
No details have emerged of the FBU's latest position, but from a working class perspective, the talks can only be positive and constructive if they are leading to the Fire Authority removing their threat of cuts to essential services. Anything else would be negative and destructive.
All trade unionists and anti-capitalists on Merseyside must recognise that it is the profit system that has demanded these cuts, and the profit system that has taken the Territorial Army off to fight for control of oil, leaving Merseysiders with little cover during the strike.
Send messages of support to Merseyside FBU, 50-54 Mount Pleasant, Liverpool L3 5UN. Donations should be sent to Merseyside Hardship Fund, HSBC bank, sort code 40-29-28, account number 91320165.