‘We will stop these cuts!’ – Welsh FBU defending firefighters’ jobs

Firefighters are defending their pensions, jobs and fire stations all over the country
Firefighters are defending their pensions, jobs and fire stations all over the country

MORE than 220 firefighters’ jobs in north Wales are threatened with being axed if £3.3m is not found over the next five years, the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority warned yesterday.

The fire and rescue authority says that it will axe 228 jobs, close seven fire stations or remove fire engines from service if the money is not secured.

This would leave vast areas of north Wales without adequate fire cover, a move that the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said would undoubtedly put lives at risk.

FBU regional Secretary for Wales Cerith Griffiths told News Line: ‘We are talking about losing nearly a quarter of the fire stations in North Wales and nearly a third of the front line fire engines, 17 out of 54.

‘228 jobs are threatened out of 799, that’s over a quarter, and 9 out of 44 fire stations closing. This would have a massive impact on the quality of the service that we would be able to provide.

‘Time is of the essence in an emergency situation, if we are not able to respond quickly, that will put lives of the public and the lives of firefighters in danger. The management are seeking extra funding to stop these cuts.

‘We will do what ever is necessary to prevent these cuts because they will have a devastating effect on the communities that we serve.’

• Firefighters in England will strike for four days from 31 October in a row over pensions, the Fire Brigades Union says.

Its members in England will walk out from 18:00 GMT, with the strike ending on the evening before Guy Fawkes Night.

The FBU has accused the government of refusing to put forward any new offer despite two months of talks. FBU members also went on strike in England and Wales in August in a protracted dispute over plans to make firefighters work until they are 60.

That was the first national walkout for a decade and was described by the FBU as a ‘warning shot’ for the government.

Union officials say that under the government’s proposals, firefighters will have to work until they are 60 instead of 55, pay more into their pensions and get less in retirement.