Firefighters volunteer for new working hours

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ENOUGH firefighters have come forward to volunteer for new working hours which will see them living at fire stations across the county.

Bosses want to axe night shifts at six stations to bring down costs.

Firefighters working day shifts will stay at work on an on-call basis to answer evening emergencies.

It could mean firefighters living at their stations for up to four days in a row.

They would not be allowed to leave but would be allowed visitors, fire chiefs said.

Those who agree to the new hours - known as close proximity crewing - have been offered a 29 per cent pay increase and in some stations new living accommodation will be built.

But bosses claim axing the night shift will still save £375,000 per station per year.

They have to find savings of £10 million by 2015 because of Government funding cuts.

So far, around 100 firefighters have volunteered with fire chiefs needing 14 crews per station.

Others interested have a week to let bosses know and then a meeting will be held to discuss terms and conditions.

The scheme will be introduced at Lowedges in Sheffield then rolled out to Aston Park, Maltby, Rivelin, Tankersley, Thorne and a new station to be built in Birley.

The Fire Brigades Union is objecting to the new working arrangements on the grounds of job losses and the impact the new hours would have on family life.

A Fire Service spokesman said: “Around 100 members of staff have submitted an expression of interest. After June 1 all interested staff will be invited to a meeting to discuss the system in detail.

“Fourteen staff will initially be recruited to the first CPC station at Lowedges. A second station will switch in 2014, and Birley in 2015.