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. When the dispute began, the FBU claimed cuts would mean more than one hundred emergency response firefighter posts being lost, and night-time cover being reduced to just one engine for the whole of Liverpool city centre.
It seems that today marked the final hours of the marathon strike. Unlike in previous disputes, there has been no military cover, since the Territorial Army are stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kazakhstan.
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.
This evening, Labour councillor Tony Newman, who is chairman of the Fire Authority, announced that an agreement had been reached on how to find the £3.5 million demanded by the government.
"We're delighted that all our staff will be available for work from tomorrow and we can go back to providing the emergency response the people of Merseyside have a right to expect" Mr Newman said.
Beyond the figure of £3.5 million, no details have emerged of the agreement, but from a working class perspective, the outcome can only have been positive and constructive if the Fire Authority have agreed not to cut essential services. Anything else would be negative and destructive.