Campaign launched against "flexible" contracts for new firefighters

Firefighters in the West Midlands are campaigning against “flexible” contracts that would force new joiners to carry out any work in any role that the service signs them up to.

It comes after West Midlands Fire Service signed contracts with local councils and the NHS to provide services, one of which was to taxi people released from hospital, despite warnings from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) that this was not nationally agreed work.

Andrew Scattergood discusses the #FiredUp campaign.

Since then, the service has been paying non-firefighting support staff more money than firefighters to fulfil this contractual obligation.

Local FBU members believe there is a risk of money being transferred from frontline emergency response to prop up non-fire service work under the various contracts signed by West Midlands Fire Service.

It is unclear whether the service has made a profit from these contracts.

Senior managers are now frantically attempting to alter firefighters’ employment contracts to oblige new recruits to do this work as well as any other roles that the service is commissioned to do.

Andrew Scattergood, chair of the FBU in the West Midlands, set out the opposition of the FBU to contracts being imposed on new firefighters without negotiation with the union and without agreement.

“This approach of imposing contracts on new recruits is a threat to firefighters in the West Midlands and, if adopted elsewhere, a threat to all FBU members”, he said.

"Our new Fired Up campaign has gained 10,000 petition signatures in less than a week. The public are clearly behind us. We hope the decision-makers now start to listen.

“We will use every tool in our arsenal to fight off these contracts.”

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