Firefighters may go on strike over cuts

Firefighters outside the meeting in Barnsley where fire service cus are being discussed
Firefighters outside the meeting in Barnsley where fire service cus are being discussed
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DISGRUNTLED firefighters are considering strike action over Government budget cuts they claim are putting lives at risk in South Yorkshire.

The Fire Brigades Union is planning a series of branch meetings following the announcement Mansfield Road, Darnall, Mosborough and Royston fire stations are to close, three fire appliances are to be taken out of services and 32 part-time firefighters are to be axed.

Over the next few years 108 full-time firefighters due to retire will not be replaced.

Fire chiefs have also been granted permission to change the hours firefighters work, where crews will covering nights on an ‘on-call’ basis at the end of their day shifts.

The plans are aimed at saving £10 million fire bosses expect to lose in Government funding cuts over the next few years.

FBU official John Gilliver, aged 47, who joined the fire service 26 years ago, said strike action would be a ‘last resort’ but is one of the options available for firefighters if they want to challenge the cost-cutting plans.

He said: “Our members are really angry so there will be a series of branch meetings to discuss what to do next – it is an absolute travesty that cuts on this level have been approved.”

“Strike action is one of the options available but would be a last resort but we need to make it known that Government cuts are putting lives at risk and the strength of opposition there is to them.

“We are a shrinking fire service with an ever increasing area to cover and taking appliances off the run and closing stations is making it more and more difficult for us to do our job and lives are undoubtedly going to be put at risk.

“In 1995 the Chief Fire Officer said the fire service budget had been cut to the bone, well now we would say it is down to the marrow.”