Bristol

Avon Fire chief's £12,000 pay rise angers union

Avon Fire Chief Kevin Pearson
Image caption Kevin Pearson's salary has risen to £142,000 sparking anger from the Fire Bridges Union

A decision to approve a £12,000 pay rise for Avon Fire and Rescue's boss has angered union bosses.

The decision has seen chief fire officer Kevin Pearson's salary rise from £130,000 to £142,000.

Approval of the rise was inappropriate because 86 firefighter posts are being axed, Avon Fire Brigades' Union said.

But, Avon Fire Authority said it was not a rise but a "partial reinstatement" as Mr Pearson used to earn £167,000 in 2009/10.

'Fewer fire stations'

Top management posts will also get pay rises, linked to Mr Pearson's salary.

Decisions were taken at private meetings held in January to debate the salary increases and confirmed at a meeting on 27 March.

Chris Taylor, secretary of the Avon Fire Brigades' Union, said: "The objection is in this time of austerity, the fire authority decides to give the top management a 10% pay rise when 86 frontline firefighters are longer with the establishment along with a third of support staff.

"We're talking about giving increases to the top end of management structure when they're looking after fewer people, fire stations and fire appliances."

However, Councillor Peter Abraham, vice chairman of the Avon Fire Authority, said: "The issue was, in 2009/10, the Chief Fire Officer was earning £167,000.

"From today, he will be earning £25,000 less than that... saving the authority £25,000 a year."

The BBC asked Mr Pearson for comment but he declined.

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