Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

February 17, 2012 12:54 ET

Cuts to Fire Alarm Responses, Then Fire Authority Councillors Vote Themselves A 25% Increase in Their Allowances, While Fire Crews Face Third Year of A Pay Freeze

EXETER, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Feb. 17, 2012) - Devon and Somerset Fire crews facing a third year of a pay freeze say they are 'gobsmacked' that fire authority councillors voted themselves a 25% increase in allowances. The move came at the same fire authority meeting which cut the fire service response to domestic fire alarms….to save money.

The councillors were evenly split on whether to vote through the 25% increase in allowances with many of them speaking out against the move. It only went through on the casting vote of the chair.

Bob Walker FBU Devon and Somerset Brigade chair said: "We're supportive of the fire authority's decision to back a small increase in the council tax which goes to protecting frontline services. But to then cut our response to domestic fire alarms and vote through a 25% increase in their own allowances beggar's belief.

"Local fire crews are facing the third year of a pay freeze and then another 2 years when we could get 1% in each year. It will cause a lot of anger and resentment and flies in the face of the commonsense approach taken to the small increase in the council tax which goes to the 999 emergency response.

"It was clear that many councillors were very uncomfortable about the allowance increase and opposed it for good reason. It has overshadowed the good and brave decision taken on the overall budget.

"I'd be surprised if there were not a public backlash over the allowances. I can assure people their local fire crews will not see a penny of it, it's only for the councillors."

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    Bob walker

    Trevor French