Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

December 04, 2007 12:55 ET

Devon and Somerset Fire Crews Say Cuts Package is Testing the Limits of Safe Working

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Dec. 4, 2007) - Devon and Somerset fire crews are warning that a new and more savage cuts package will test the limits of safe working for frontline fire crews. They also accuse managers of treating public opinion with contempt by planning cuts which could be twice as bad as those previously rejected.

There could be as many as 66 frontline firefighter posts lost under the new cuts package, nearly double those threatened under the old package which was overwhelmingly rejected during the last public consultation. The authority has now put the proposals out to consultation for only an 8 week period which straddles the Christmas and New Year break. The cuts include:

Ilfracombe switched from Day Crewed to Retained Duty with the loss of 9 firefighter posts

Plympton switched from Shift to Day Crewed with the loss of up to 19 frontline firefighter posts

Exmouth switched from Shift to Day Crewed loss of up to 19 frontline firefighter posts

Paignton switched from Shift to day Crewed with the loss of up to 19 frontline firefighter posts

Exmouth and Paignton were only upgraded in 1998 from being Day crewed to being Shift crewed.

Trevor French Devon and Somerset FBU Secretary said: "These cuts will clearly impact on our work and compromise our safety and public safety. If they go ahead they will be testing the very limits of safe working and that is of major concern to the professional fire crews of Devon and Somerset.

"The cuts will be a major loss which will impact across Devon and Somerset. Fire crews work well outside their own station areas, either directly at emergency incidents or as back up cover.

"We could lose nearly twice as many frontline firefighter posts as under the old proposals. Those were overwhelmingly rejected by the public and then by the fire authority.

"This is not just showing utter contempt for public opinion it is throwing it on the ground and kicking it in the teeth. These are real cuts to frontline services which will have a real impact.

"These cuts are for purely financial reasons, they are not about improving safety. The repeated promises from managers and councillors that there would be no cuts after Devon and Somerset merged have been ripped to shreds.

"We promise a very strong campaign against these plans. If the public want the fire and rescue response we know they need then they are going to have to fight for it."

Representatives of Devon and Somerset Fire crews will be attending an emergency meeting at Taunton Fire Station tomorrow morning (5th December) at 1030 hours to discuss the proposals in detail.

Contact Information

  • Trevor French
    Devon and Somerset Secretary
    Bob Walker
    Devon and Somerset Chair
    Fire Brigade Union
    John Drake
    South West FBU Regional Secretary