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Calls for resignation of Manchester fire authority chair over new "family wrecking" shift system

There have been calls for the chair of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority to quit after the local branch of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) unanimously passed a vote of no confidence in his leadership.

The union says firefighters have lost confidence in David Acton after the authority backed controversial plans to put firefighters on ‘family unfriendly’ 12-hour shifts. The shift pattern change is part of a raft of measures unveiled in response to central government funding cuts which will also include more than 250 job losses.

Currently, shift start times in Greater Manchester are 08:30 and 19:00. The new proposed shift pattern is made up of equal 12-hour shifts between 10:30 and 22:30. The FBU says they are universally unpopular amongst firefighters and would cause mayhem for those with caring responsibilities.

A firefighter and mother of one, who cannot be named, told the FBU a finish time of 22:30 would be a “nightmare” for her childcare arrangements as the cost of arranging someone to look after her child would be “crippling”. 

Gary Keary, brigade secretary of the FBU in Greater Manchester, said: “We are deeply disappointed that Cllr. Acton has failed to listen to firefighters who have great concerns about the new shift system, especially when we have offered viable alternatives.

“It is absolutely galling that this decision was taken when there is still a distinct possibility our members will reject the proposal. It is clear that his position is untenable and he needs to consider his future. Firefighters have lost trust in him. The union believes he must go.”

You can read the FBU's letter to David Acton calling for his resignation here

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