Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

May 22, 2012 07:53 ET

Cambridgeshire Fire Crews Stand Ready to Fight Against Even More Frontline Cuts

CAMBRIDGESHIRE, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - May 22, 2012) - Fire crews across Cambridgeshire are warning they stand ready to respond with industrial action if the Fire Authority agree at their meeting this Thursday to make dangerous cuts to the frontline service. The cuts have been drawn up by Cambridgeshire's fire chiefs in anticipation of yet further cuts in central government funding.

Firefighters will be calling on all Members of the Cambridgeshire Fire Authority to add their voices to those who have already spoken out against the slash and burn cuts agenda being driven by the Coalition Government. The campaign will also seek the support of the counties MP's, the public they are supposed to represent and other local trade union members.

The FBU warns that the package of frontline cuts being drawn up by managers would see all areas of the county affected, including plans to close and downgrade fire stations, the loss of specialist rescue vehicles to deal with high rise emergencies and road traffic accidents and more cuts in the numbers of frontline firefighters, control staff and officers employed. The union warns such frontline cuts will inevitably mean the public waiting longer for fire crews when they dial 999.

Adrian Clarke FBU Regional Secretary said:

"This could not have come at a worse time for Cambridgeshire firefighters who have already made personal sacrifices to maintain frontline 999 services. Only last week fire crews reluctantly accepted the introduction of a new duty system with fewer firefighters employed overall to serve at frontline fire stations. In accepting the new duty system, fire crews made it absolutely clear we expect the fire authority to recognise their significant sacrifice in terms of their own working conditions, working hours and domestic arrangements and in return we expect the fire authority to oppose any more frontline cuts. Our members' sacrifice has been to protect the current frontline service we provide to the people of Cambridgeshire and the current safety systems for firefighters, despite the coalition government's cuts passed on to us by CFRS. Now we expect all councillors on the fire authority to stand together in campaigning for vital funding to protect the life-saving service our members provide for the tax-payers of Cambridgeshire.

We remain wholly opposed to any frontline cuts and blame the coalition government for the disastrous cuts in our funding in Cambridgeshire. We call upon all the local politicians and tax-payers to join us in lobbying central government for extra funding and not to punish our county for being so frugal in the past. We simply cannot absorb cuts without directly affecting our life-saving, frontline service in the way the Government suggest we can.

"People thought David Cameron's pledge to "protect frontline services" meant exactly that but if their MP's will not step up to the mark and fight for their communities then firefighters will.

"One thing we know for certain is that social deprivation and fire go hand in hand and therefore the most vulnerable in our society including the elderly, children and lowest paid will be put at the greatest risk if these cuts go ahead. Thanks to their comparative position of privilege, few if any of our county's or cities' MP's will be put at the same risk. The worst they may expect is to lose their seat when they are next up for election, whilst those they are elected to represent could lose their lives.

"Firefighters pledge when they join the service to protect and preserve life sometimes at the cost of their own and they will hold to that pledge and stand ready to fight if the elected fire authority members and MP's fail to do so."

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:
    Adrian Clarke
    FBU Regional Secretary

    Phil McQuillen
    FBU Brigade Chair
    07920 - 799558