South Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway fire service faces hefty pay cost

Fire engine
Image caption The service has warned that it will have to use financial reserves to meet the compensation pay

Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service is facing a bill of up to £160,000 to meet compensation payments to its retained staff.

It follows a ruling by an employment tribunal on the terms and conditions of part-time firefighters.

The compensation payments were set on the back of two test cases lodged in England more than a decade ago.

DGFRS has warned it has no budget to meet the costs and will have to dip into its financial reserves.

The Fire Brigades Union argued that part-time staff were receiving less favourable terms and conditions than their full-time colleagues despite doing the same duties.

That stance was eventually upheld by an employment tribunal after a lengthy legal process which at one point reached the House of Lords.

A negotiated settlement between the employers and the union has now been agreed.

It will see compensation payments - backdated to July 2000 - made to all eligible retained staff.

In Dumfries and Galloway, it is estimated it will cost the fire and rescue service about £160,000.

However, a report to councillors said the brigade did not have the resources available to meet the costs.

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