Fire job cut claim 'scaremongering'

ESSEX'S top firefighter has accused the Fire Brigades Union of “scaremongering” after it issued warnings of redundancies within the county's service.

ESSEX'S top firefighter has accused the Fire Brigades Union of “scaremongering” after it issued warnings of redundancies within the county's service.

Chief Fire Officer David Johnson said no jobs were on the line - contrary to the recent FBU comments.

He was speaking yesterday during a briefing to discuss the service's Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) for 2009-12 at its headquarters at Kelvedon.

The document contains recommendations about how to create a more efficient service and make better use of its existing resources and is set to be approved at a meeting of the Essex Fire Authority on Thursday.


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But Paul Adams, the assistant secretary of the Essex branch of the FBU, said the IRMP lacked clarity and disguised an “old-fashioned cuts package”.

During the briefing, CFO Johnson challenged any members of the FBU's executive to sit in front of him and “argue that case”.

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He said: “It's a shame that some members of the executive can't see where we're going. There will be no redundancies, no job cuts, and no fire engines being taken off the road. Scaremongering serves no purpose whatsoever.”

He said staffing arrangements for the county's four day-crewed stations were being reviewed by a separate team, which included four FBU officials, and its findings would be submitted at the end of the year.

But Mr Adams said he remained concerned about the possible changes the measures contained in the IRMP would mean to the service.

Mr Adams said: “Our position is quite clear. From the outset we have asked for clarity of detail of the overall plans and to date we have not had that.

“It's widely accepted that the proposal, in its current format, is poorly written, ambiguous and lacks detail.”

He said the main concerns centred around plans to “alternatively crew” the service's specialist appliances - aerial ladder platforms and rescue tenders.

He said: “At the moment we have dedicated crews and when we ask them 'what does alternatively crew mean', they just say 'alternatively to the way we're doing it at the moment'.

“The industrial relations situation has gone downhill during the last few months and it does centre around the IRMP.”

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