Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

September 24, 2009 06:02 ET

Fire Chief's Desperate 'Spin' of Old News to Hide Real Cuts to Frontline 999 Service

ESSEX, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Sept. 24, 2009) - Fire crews and officers across Essex are shaking their heads in dismay at desperate attempts of senior managers to hide real frontline cuts behind the paper-thin spinning of old news. To try and hide the decision to cut 44 frontline firefighters, Essex fire chief publicised a list of the new specialist vehicles they plan to buy and trumpeted the imminent opening of a new fire station at Rayleigh Weir.

But he forgot to mention that the new fire station comes at the expense of closing Hadleigh fire station and closing Rayleigh fire station. This has forced all the retained firefighters who have provided such loyal service at Rayleigh to be redeployed or face redundancy.

The removal of high reach and specialist appliances from their current stations has become their plan to "implement the first phase of changes to crewing arrangements". It's a cut to the front line service.

The axing of one in ten frontline station-based firefighters is described as "reducing establishment on paper". That's just jargon for cutting the number of firefighters in Essex.

Essex FBU Secretary, Paul Adams said:

"It really is desperate when the chief officer has to torture the English language to avoid saying that removing frontline appliances and axing frontline crews are cuts. The professionals can see through that and so can the public.

"It's like saying you are opening a school, but ducking the fact there are no teachers for the classrooms. It fools no one to say there are teachers, they just happen to be at another school.

"The public are sick of this double speak. We've exposed this nonsense for what it is and he is clearly rattled.

"Most of the 'new' vehicles are simply part of the normal process of replacing old vehicles. Those that are new additions don't have their own crews.

"This only exposes the firefighter shortages we already have. The cuts mean we won't have enough firefighters to crew all the fire engines and specialist vehicles we already have and adding even more vehicles will spread fire crews even more thinly across Essex.

"Essex fire crews are clear that we must and will oppose cuts to frontline services. That's not militant, it is in line with the position of every major political party.

"The chief officer should now focus on the talks which resume tomorrow. He needs to leave the spin behind him and get on with reaching agreement."

Contact Information

  • Mick Rogers 07967 023709
    Paul Adams 07967 720363
    Adrian Clarke 07917 017713