Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire fire service job cut fears

Up to 39 jobs could be lost at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said.

The service wants to save £1.3m over the next three years as part of its new "integrated risk management plan".

The FBU said the combination of cutting crews on specialist appliances and not filling vacant posts was detrimental.

But the service said it was unnecessary to staff specialist crews at the same level as normal crews, and 24 jobs would go from not filling vacant posts.

'Delayed turnouts'

Chief fire officer Jon Hall said: "Proposal three of the services risk management plan outlines an opportunity to change crewing of aerial appliances based upon the fact that they are rarely, if ever, needed in the same time scale as normal fire engines.

"Proposals, if adopted, would release 24 posts."

But the FBU has said more people are needed to crew the specialist appliances, such as the aerial ladder platforms used for bigger fires, otherwise people's lives could be put at risk.

John Drake, regional FBU secretary, said: "The fire service says they are not used that often but, when they are needed, they are absolutely essential and do indeed save lives, and to look at different crewing arrangements which will result in delayed turnouts is of concern.

"They may not be making any compulsory redundancies but they are not replacing any firefighters as and when they retire which in effect is a cut in the number of firefighters available."

Once the consultation period is over, Gloucestershire County Council, which is the fire authority for Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue, will decide whether to adopt the budget proposals in the new year.

The public consultation is due to end on 18 January.

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