‘Lives are being put at risk’, says fire union

Fire at Pallet yard Horbury Bridge July 2001
Fire at Pallet yard Horbury Bridge July 2001

CITY firefighters are facing life on the dole - it was claimed yesterday.

Firefighters say lives will be at risk and fewer engines will be running due to 25 per cent cuts to the service during the next four years.

They also have accused ministers of breaking a promise made before the general election to protect front line services from the axe.

FBU regional secretary Pete Smith said: “Before the-election, they pledged to protect frontline services and they have gone back on their word again.

“There will be a lot of jobs going It’s going to mean fewer pumps, reduced numbers of firefighters and even deaths - even the deaths of firefighters.”

The union is also angry that firefighters will be hit by a public sector pay free freeze while pension contributions are 
increased.

On Wednesday, firefighters from Wakefield joined thousands in Westminster to urge a re-think of the cuts.

A West Yorkshire fire service spokesman said letters had been sent out to support staff offering voluntary severance, but front line services would not be affected in the first year of the cuts.

He said: “We expect to see a reduction of about £14m over four years. That is a challenge, we accept that.

“We won’t know the full impact until the middle of 
December.”

He said a four-year service review published in September set out possible scenarios that would have to be implemented.

“Our general strategy is to try and protect front line services as far as possible and there will be no impact on frontline services in the first year. We don’t expect the cuts to be as severe as they are in other public services.”