South West Wales

Llanelli fire station: Authority to discuss shift row

Fire authority chiefs are to meet later on Tuesday to discuss changes at Llanelli fire station in Carmarthenshire.

New shift patterns since 8 April have been criticised by the Fire Brigades' Union (FBU).

Mid and West Wales Fire Authority says there is no reduction in the number of firefighters at the station, and just a change in crewing arrangements.

Fire chiefs have also said they want to employ staff more efficiently.

Last week, when the new working patterns began, a fire and rescue service spokeswoman said: "We are extremely pleased that the new crewing arrangements are now in place at Llanelli fire station.

"The new system will not only provide the communities of Llanelli with the same level of emergency service response as they previously experienced, but will also enhance the levels of community support available to the town and its surrounding areas."

'More effective and efficient'

In June 2011, campaigners staged a protest march and rally against changes at Llanelli, and in August that year handed a petition to the chief fire officer.

Mid and West Wales Fire Service was also criticised over plans to switch 21 full-time firefighters in Powys to community safety work, replacing them on emergency duties with volunteer crews.

When concerns over the number of firefighters in Llanelli were raised two years ago, fire chiefs said there was a "misconception" that numbers could fall from 28.

The fire service has previously said that it is aiming to use staff in a more "effective and efficient" way.

Fire chiefs also said the service was not "immune from the financial situation that is affecting the whole of the public sector".

The FBU has argued that the changes would see crews cover the station for 24 hours with 14 people, with five on duty at any one time.

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