Merseyside fire crews vote three to one in favour of strike action over loss of 120 firefighters and cuts to fire engines
Merseyside fire crews have voted THREE to ONE in favour of strike action over cuts they say will compromise firefighter and public safety. (They have named 4 days of strike action).
Result - Yes: (71.4%) No: (28.6%). (Strikes have been notified to take place from Thursday 31st August at 10.00 am to Monday 4th September, 10.00 am.)
The strike ballot is in protest at plans to cut 120 emergency response firefighter posts – one in ten of the workforce - 15 emergency fire control operator posts and axe four fire engines at night time. There will be fewer rescue appliances, fewer firefighters on fire engines and a longer wait for crews to arrive to all 999 emergencies.
The loss of one in ten fulltime firefighter posts – in addition to the 68 posts lost last year - will inevitably damage the overall operational capability of the Merseyside fire and rescue service. Fire crews say this will clearly compromise their safety and the safety of the public.
Les Skarratts, Merseyside FBU brigade secretary secretary: “Local fire crews have shown the massive opposition to these cuts and there is a clear mandate for strike action. We are happy to enter talks but we have not held a ballot and named strike dates just to get a seat at the negotiating table.
“Old fashioned budget cuts will see the loss of 120 frontline firefighters – one in ten - and harm our ability to respond to emergencies across Merseyside. There would be fewer frontline firefighters arriving later at 999 incidents with less rescue equipment available.
“Fire crews could be left at emergencies with the choice of standing back and doing nothing until the necessary resources arrive and risking the public, or ignoring basic safety procedures and risking ourselves. That will clearly compromise our safety and public safety and it is unacceptable.
“Merseyside fire crews do not want to take strike action at all. But be in no doubt we are prepared to take short periods of strike action to secure the fire service and safety for the long-term.
“Senior managers have scared councillors into backing their panic measures but they do not impress us. If talks do not produce acceptable proposals then strike action is inevitable.
“We are not in the mood for posturing, last minute stunts or negotiating gimmicks. If they have an offer to make then this is the time to make it when it can make a difference, not so late that it doesn’t.”