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Firefighters’ union in Scotland considers strike over government cuts

Scottish Government Scotland

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Scotland’s Fire Brigades Union consults on potential strik

: The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is set to consult firefighters across Scotland regarding potential strike action.

This is in response to a series of budget cuts implemented by the Scottish government.

According to a report, a projected five-year flat cash budget up to 2027 has resulted in the removal of 10 wholetime fire engines.

Additionally, 150 retained fire engines are often out of service due to substantial recruitment and retention challenges.

Effects of the budget constraints in Scotland

The Scottish Fire and Rescue service indicates that they will need to save at least £14 million next year.

This could lead to a loss of 339 firefighters and 18 fire engines.

Since 2012, Scotland has witnessed a reduction of 1200 frontline firefighters.

The recent decision by the FBU marks the initial move towards strike action, a decision unanimously supported by the union’s Scottish committee. If the current trajectory continues, a formal strike ballot may be in the offing.

Pressure mounts on SNP leadership

This news comes as the SNP congregates for its party conference in Aberdeen.

It is expected to exert additional pressure on First Minister Humza Yousaf to step in and take action.

The FBU has also planned a demonstration at Holyrood on 26 October.

John McKenzie, Fire Brigades Union regional secretary, stated: “The cuts being implemented by the Scottish government are a threat to the lives, homes, and livelihoods of everyone in Scotland.

“Scotland will be deprived of the vital firefighters and equipment required to ensure the safety of its communities.

“Speaking to firefighters throughout Scotland, there’s a palpable sense of determination among members.

“Our service can’t withstand further cuts. The public will hold the SNP Government accountable if this results in strike action.”

Similarly, Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union general secretary, expressed: “As the SNP gathers for their conference, we have a message for the Scottish government.

“These cuts jeopardise the safety of all Scots, and the Fire Brigades Union is bound to contest them.

“Firefighters don’t decide on strike action without due consideration.

“The current stance of the Scottish government has brought us to this juncture.

“However, there’s still an opportunity for the government to change course.

“It’s imperative they heed the voices from the frontline of this essential service.”

IFSJ Comment

The ongoing situation with the Fire Brigades Union in Scotland is a significant indicator of the broader issues at play.

As the proposed cuts loom over the Scottish Fire and Rescue service, the potential repercussions on safety and service quality cannot be overlooked.

With the loss of frontline firefighters and crucial equipment since 2012, the strain on the service is evident.

The anticipated demonstration and potential strike action underscore the severity of the situation.

It is crucial for all stakeholders, especially the Scottish government, to engage in constructive dialogue, understanding the implications of further reductions and finding a balanced solution that doesn’t compromise on safety.

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