The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in Gloucestershire has slammed senior managers in the countyâ€™s fire and rescue service for â€œsuspendingâ€ full-time fire cover at CirencesterÂ fire station, despite a public consultation into the future of fire cover at this station being inconclusive.
Fire cover in Cirencester is the subject of an ongoing public consultation being run by Gloucestershire County Council, who recently announcedÂ plans to cut frontline fire cover in the county.Â Full-time firefighters from Cirencester are being removed and Painswick fire station closed down. The council invited the public toÂ comment on the plans through a consultation which began on 1 October and is due to close on 4 January 2016. Local campaigning firefighters say that, 999 response times will increase and public safety will be jeopardised.
Although consultation is incomplete, senior fire service managers announced they were â€œsuspendingâ€ the duty system at Cirencester and have nowÂ removed all full-time firefighters from the station saying that they are doing it â€œto comply with health and safety legislationâ€. The union has hit back at the decision,Â calling it â€œdisgracefulâ€ and saying it â€œtotally undermines the ongoing public consultationâ€.
FBU regional secretary Trevor French said: â€œThey say they are doing it to â€œensure legislative complianceâ€ with health and safety but we believe that is just an excuse. The FBU put forward aÂ number of alternative options which would have ensured compliance with legislation and ensured that full-time cover would have remained available atÂ Cirencester, but these were rejected. The union had registered a formal dispute and asked for an independent review of the situation, but the service hasÂ chosen to press ahead regardless.â€
Local FBU secretary Scott Turner added: â€œBy pressing ahead in this manner local managers have not followed the agreed industrial relations negotiating procedures. We have made our views clear to principal managers.Â The union will continue to pursue all options available to us, including seeking formal legal advice. We will also be contacting the leader of the council and demanding that he reverse this decision.â€
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