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Tags: FBU

Avon firefighters challenge proposed service cuts


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Avon Fire Authority has approved proposals to reduce the number of full-time firefighter positions by 40 and to decrease fire engine crews from five members to four throughout the service.

Service cuts spark union condemnation

Representatives from the Fire Brigades Union have criticised the cuts. They described the decisions as “dangerous and irresponsible” in a statement to the Fire Authority.

Many firefighters attended to voice their objections to these plans.

These recent changes stem from a project commissioned by Avon Fire and Rescue Service, aimed at trimming the budget.

Matt Wrack, the Fire Brigades Union general secretary, remarked: “If implemented these cuts will put lives at risk, and the Fire Brigades Union will fiercely resist them. Slashing the number of firefighters in Avon will push an already strained service to its limits.

“It is unreasonable for Simon Shilton to suggest these cuts arise from last year’s pay award. No other fire authority is making similar cuts using this rationale.

“Mr Shilton and the Avon Fire Authority should acknowledge this situation and reconsider. Earlier this year, our members successfully reversed substantial cuts in Nottingham. It’s possible.

“Firefighters show dedication and determination to safeguard their communities daily. We will contest these austerity measures at every juncture.”

Dave Roberts, FBU South West regional secretary, added: “Avon Fire Authority prioritises cost-cutting over the safety of the public and firefighters.

“Our firefighters are already facing significant challenges in their mission to save lives and property. Instead of much-needed investment, we are confronted with more extensive cuts.

“Firefighters in the region are deeply upset by this regrettable decision. The people of Avon deserve a fire service capable of ensuring their safety. We will employ every means at our disposal to counter these perilous cuts.”

Related issues in Cambridgeshire

In a related story, Cambridgeshire firefighters expressed their apprehensions over the reduction in fire crew sizes.

They recently staged a demonstration outside the Cambridgeshire Fire Authority’s meeting.

Their concerns arose from the Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service’s (CFRS) recent practice. Starting in 2023, CFRS began assigning on-call firefighters in teams of only three.

IFSJ Comment

The recent decision by the Avon Fire Authority to cut firefighter positions and reduce crew sizes is indicative of a larger trend facing fire and rescue services.

The balance between fiscal responsibility and ensuring public safety is delicate.

The vehement reactions from the Fire Brigades Union emphasise the gravity of these decisions.

Instances like these underscore the critical need for transparent and inclusive decision-making processes, and a comprehensive understanding of the implications of service cuts on public safety and the well-being of firefighters.

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