The Branch supports the campaign, led by the Fire Brigade’s Union, and supported by Sheffield Trades Union Council, against cuts proposed by South Yorkshire Fire Authority.
The proposals would mean a reduction in the number of firefighters crewing a fire appliance from 5 to 4, and reduce night-time cover in Sheffield to one appliance with a four person crew.
The campaign is demanding that the Authority drop these plans and lobby the Government for proper funding.
What is the issue?
The Fire Service has a deficit of £8.3 million, which is being used as the justification for the current wave of cuts. £2.4 million of the deficit is attributable to the pensions deficit, itself caused by a drop in contribution income following previous cuts.
The proposals would mean a loss of 84 firefighter’s jobs. To put this in context, before austerity decimated the service there were 1100 firefighters – there are now 594.
The fifth person on a fire appliance, who would be abolished under the proposals, serves a crucial function in coordinating and monitoring duties to help protect the health and safety of firefighters in a building.
For a domestic incident, nine firefighters are needed, which – with reduced crew levels – would mean three engines rather than two. Support would be needed from other stations, increasing response times and putting pressure on the Service if there was a serious incident.
What has happened so far?
When the Chief Fire Officer presented his proposals to the South Yorkshire Fire Authority, the Authority voted to “note” the report, which means a delay while the proposals are consulted on. Consultation ends in August.
The FBU is lobbying members of the authority, and has set up a petition. If they can get 5000 signatories, this will force a debate in the Council chamber.
The FBU petitioned Parliament in May, held a rally in front of Sheffield Town Hall last week, and is also preparing to submit Freedom of Information requests to obtain more information about how the Fire Service spends its money.
What You Can do
Circulate information about the campaign, the consultation and the petition to your friends and collegues.
Sign the FBU’s petition here: https://www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/stop-cuts-to-south-yorkshire-fire-and-rescue-service-1
Respond to the public consultation here: https://www.syfire.gov.uk/haveyoursay/
For more information on the campaign locally see:https://sheffieldtuc.co.uk/save-our-fire-service-no-job-cuts-no-reduction-in-fire-engine-crews-no-cut-in-night-time-cover-end-austerity-now/