South Yorkshire firefighters offered 29% pay rise
Firefighters in South Yorkshire are being offered a 29% pay increase, if they volunteer for a new shift system.
The deputy chief fire officer for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said it would save about £10m by 2015.
The fire service said the shifts would involve working 9-5 for four days and include sleeping at the fire station to ensure cover for a particular area.
The Fire Brigades Union said the offer could affect firefighters' welfare.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Mark Shaw said: "It might seem strange that we are offering a 29% pay increase to actually save money.
"The Fire Authority has already given the guarantee that we won't be looking to make compulsory redundancies at this time.
"What this will ensure is that rather than cut services, we'll make efficiencies.
"We will provide the same number of fire appliances but we're staffing them in a different way."
John Gilliver, from the union, said the scheme was outside of firefighters' terms and conditions.
"It's doubling the hours and decreasing the staff by half.
"Twenty nine per cent might sound brilliant, especially in these austere times, but it comes at a price and that is less fighters."
Mr Shaw added that the scheme, called Close Proximity Crewing (CPC), "would not suit everybody", which is why it was optional.
It is expected that the system will be piloted before it is fully introduced at the Lowedges station in 2013.
Last year, the fire service said it needed to make savings of more than £12m over the next four years.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said the saving for CPC amounted to £375,000 a year per station.