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FBU slams proposed Hereford firefighter cuts

12 June 2017

HEREFORD AND Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is set to axe seven firefighters downgrading its fire cover by getting rid of five more firefighter posts as it tries to save £1.6million by 2020.

The proposed changes will see HWFRS relying more heavily on retained firefighters and the two stations set to feel the impact of these new cuts are Evesham and Malvern. The changes will mean there will be full-time cover from Monday to Friday until 6pm, when on-call firefighters will take over through the night. 70 full-time firefighter jobs have been axed in the region since 2012 and the latest proposals would see the headcount reduce from 12 full-time firefighters to seven.

HWFRS currently hold a reserve revenue of £7.71 million and this has led to outrage from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) for making proposals of frontline cuts when the reserve exists. FBU brigade secretary for the region Steven Gould said: “We find it astonishing that council tax payers’ money is being held in this way, when it badly needs to be spent on fire and rescue cover. People are angry here.  

“While retained/on-call firefighters do a fantastic job, their prompt arrival at the scene of fires and other incidents isn’t guaranteed in the same way as a whole-time crew due to the fact that they have primary employment elsewhere.  

“It is totally unacceptable that HWFRS are hanging onto such a vast reserve of funds that could help keep the public safe – they could keep five firefighters on full-time for around £215,000 a year, but they won’t do it. The council tax paying public need to be made aware of the risks that are being taken with their safety.”

A petition has been set up to oppose the cuts, visit http://bit.ly/2r0mqrn