New revelations from London's city manager that private companies have already been called in to help could send shockwaves through the picket line outside city hall.

As the strike by CUPE Local 101 hit day 26, Art Zuidema says the city has hired replacement workers to help keep a pair of municipal departments operating.

Consultants are already at work in the city's IT department and Zuidema says planning applications and building inspections are now also getting assistance from replacement workers.

Following a three hour closed-door meeting Thursday night, Mayor Matt Brown was non-committal when asked about hiring replacement workers during the strike.

But Friday afternoon Zuidema said administration at city hall has already made that decision and some private contractors are currently in place with others on the way.

"We certainly have sought to bring in some various services to assist in our delivery."

He won't say how many people have been brought in - or at what cost - other than to say the number is small and the budget impact isn't large enough to require council approval.

But their roles focus on areas where city managers have faced challenges keeping up with the workload and provincially mandated timelines.

"In the IT area they are doing some consulting and in the inspections area they will be doing some plans examinations and probably some inspections as well."

Monday will mark the start of week five on the picket line for inside workers and with bargaining at a standstill, both sides are now considering solidarity.

Zuidema says, "We are not actively recruiting people to come in off the picket line but if they choose to go back to work before the strike is over we will certainly give them that opportunity."

But union leader Shelley Navarroli says, "After visiting picket lines today our members are still strong. Yeah, it's hard, but they are resolved to continuing."

The decision to bring in private workers will take some pressure off managers trying to keep up, and may also send a signal that city hall could endure a long strike if necessary.