Firefighters in South Yorkshire are to be balloted for industrial action over plans to axe a quarter of all emergency control operators.
The Fire Brigades Union claims South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service managers have proposed the job cuts ‘without any meaningful consultation or negotiation’.
Pete Smith, regional secretary of the FBU in Yorkshire, said: “Fire chiefs have lost the trust and respect of their staff through these savage cuts to fire control, leaving us with no option but to ballot for industrial action.
“Emergency control staff are the very first people you’ll speak to when you’re in an emergency.
“Firefighters rely on them to get all the vital information to perform a rescue as fast and efficiently as possible. They are an invaluable component of the lifesaving service firefighters provide. The public in South Yorkshire will be put at greater risk if these posts are cut.”
There are currently 32 control room operators employed by the fire service in South Yorkshire, with plans to cut eight posts.
Fire chiefs claim the number of calls received by the operators has fallen over recent years.
Between April 2004 and March 2005 operators received 48,249 calls compared to 29,291 between April 2014 and March 2015.
The FBU also claims that fire chiefs want to push through changes to firefighters’ holiday arrangements.