Friday, 8.45am: Plans to cut 60 jobs in the fire service have had a “devastating impact” on morale but will not affect frontline performance, according to a union spokesman.
Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) announced plans for the cuts yesterday - which included the loss of 25 frontline firefighters, 30 to 40 support service staff and five officer posts.
The proposed cuts, which are up for public consultation until March 19, would decrease the number of full-time firefighters from 180 across the four main Cambridgeshire stations, which includes Dogsthorpe and Stanground, to 155.
CFRS bosses claim there will be no impact on services, with the same number of firefighters attending incidents due to altered working shifts and changes to the booking of leaves of absence.
The 25 firefighter cuts will not come from compulsory redundancy, but rather staff will not be replaced.
Keven Napier, secretary Fire Brigade Union (FBU), said: “It has very much affected morale.
“We were already incredibly efficient, so additional austerity cuts has an impact on morale.
“We are upset, but we understand these are times of austerity. These cuts will not impact the number of people on any engine.
“We will be changing the way the shifts work - we currently have four shifts and there will be a fifth one.”
The proposed job cuts would save the CFRS £2.6 million of the £4.2 million savings it is hoping to make this year.
CFRS bosses fear additional budget cuts of £1.8 million in November - meaning £6 million of savings would be needed in total.
Chris Strickland, deputy chief fire officer, said: “These are not decisions that we welcome having to propose, however, we do need to be realistic.
“We remain one of the leanest fire services in the country and a £6 million budget cut would be a reduction of about 20 per cent of our overall budget.
“Clearly we can’t absorb this without some impact on our frontline services.”
To view and comment on the proposals, visit the fire service website www.cambsfire.gov.uk.
MP assured of frontline services
MP for Peterborough Stewart Jackson has been promised that frontline services will not be impacted by the job cuts.
Mr Jackson said: “I have had two meetings with senior officers from the fire service along with other local MPs, since September.
“I have been assured that the changes will have no impact on frontline services and will mean the option of station closures and appliances being removed is off the table.
“I will continue to liaise with colleagues to ensure funding is focused on the frontline.”
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