Fire service union to lobby Sheffield Council over proposals to cut crew numbers

The Fire Brigades Union are to hold a rally in Sheffield to protest against what they say are ‘devastating and unnecessary’ cuts to the fire service in South Yorkshire.

Monday, 3rd June 2019, 3:45 pm
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The South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service last month unveiled proposals to reduce the number of firefighters on each engine from five to four, in an effort to reduce costs.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU), however, say this would put 84 firefighters jobs at risk, and also reduce night cover by 50 per cent, a figure disputed by fire service bosses.

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The FBU are now calling for the public to join them in lobbying Sheffield Council on Wednesday, June 12 at 12.30, to put pressure on some of the councillors who will make the final decision later this year.

And they are also calling for people to sign a petition calling for the cuts to be scrapped, and say they need 5,000 signatures to force Sheffield Council to debate the issue.

Fire service bosses have hit back, however, saying they would rather make no changes at all but have to decide how best to acheive the savings they need to find.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson, said: “We’d rather not make any changes at all, but have a duty to match our resources to local risk and to manage the service in a financially responsible way.

“We face cost pressures of up to £4 million and the extent of the savings required is inevitably going to mean changes to the way we provide our 999 service to the public.

“We think it is better to reduce the number of firefighters on a fire engine, than it is to slow down our response times to some of our communities by reducing the number of fire engines which are immediately available.

“We want feedback from the public on our draft plans – the best way to share your views is via our online survey.”

A SYFR spokesperson also said they wanted to make clear that the FBU’s claim that the changes would mean a 50 per cent reduction in night time cover were ‘not part of the proposals they were consulting on’.

Have your say on the propsals at www.syfire.gov.uk/haveyoursay.