Jobs to be axed to save frontline firefighters

Firefighters at the scene of a major fire at a Furniture store on a Retail Park off Chesterfield Road,Woodseats
Firefighters at the scene of a major fire at a Furniture store on a Retail Park off Chesterfield Road,Woodseats
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Hundreds of fire service workers have been told their jobs are at risk - in a bid to save frontline firefighters.

South Yorkshire fire chiefs called a meeting for the 220 employees whose jobs are under review.

They were told that the county brigade needs to save £1 million over the next 12 months.

Every non-frontline department is to be looked at, including finance, community safety, human resources, corporate communications and admin.

They have not revealed how many jobs need to go but, if the average employee earns £20,000, it would mean 50 jobs would be axed.

Fire chiefs said they have to let back office staff go in order to save firefighter jobs.

A fire service spokesman said: “Our budget has already reduced from £60 million to £53 million, and we expect it to be around £47 million by 2020.

“We are determined to do everything possible to protect our frontline resources so we have started a review of support services which aims to save £1 million by April 2015.”

During the meeting on Thursday, led by Chief Fire Officer Jamie Courtney, employees were asked for expressions of interest in voluntary redundancy in a bid to save people from compulsory redundancy.

Departmental managers are to review each role in their units by the end of May, with consultation with unions due to take place between June and October.

Final decisions about who will keep their jobs will be made during November and December ths year.

Back office jobs have already been slashed by 25 per cent over recent years.

Fire chiefs announced a controversial decision to close fire stations in 2012, in another bid to save cash.

They are to close Darnall and Mansfield Road fire stations - among the busiest in Sheffield - and replace them with a purpose-built base off the Sheffield Parkway.

A new full-time fire station is also to be built at Birley, to improve cover in south-east Sheffield and enable the closure of the part-time fire station at Mosborough.

Residents and firefighters concerned about the closure plan were asked to put alternative suggestions forward but, of the 16 received, none were deemed to provide the necessary level of emergency fire cover with the same level of savings.