Bullying claim as fire crew row blazes on - The Evesham Observer

Bullying claim as fire crew row blazes on

Evesham Editorial 16th Feb, 2018   0

A FURIOUS Evesham firefighter has accused fire chiefs of bullying tactics as the long-running row over staffing levels at the town’s fire station rumbled on.

The firefighter, who did not wish to be named, spoke to the Observer to reveal the anger provoked by Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service’s proposals to restore five firefighters to each engine in the county instead of current arrangement of four per engine.

As part of the proposal, Evesham’s firefighters have been asked to maximise their contracted hours working in the community or at the station, a request which the firefighter said worked out as an extra 30 days of work a year for each crew member.

Fire chiefs claim the improved efficiency would mean fire engines with five crew members on board could be brought in without any impact on local emergency cover arrangements.

“When the station declined as there would be no pay for these extra days, the brigade has proceeded with what I would consider bullying tactics,” he told the Observer.

The firefighter slammed Chief Fire Officer Nathan Travis who warned local firefighters if they failed to vote on the proposals before March 1 or rejected the offer, the service would consider implementing the move regardless.

“They are asking permission to fire our local firefighters! They then will ‘offer them re-employment only if they accept inferior terms and conditions, including working more hours’

Fire chiefs said the proposals were the result of 12 months of extensive and constructive consultation and negotiation, which would see investment in more full-time firefighter posts and a reduction in the current number of supervisory manager posts.

Mr Travis insisted the new duty systems would not require any firefighter to work more than the 42 hours, on average, per week that they are currently contracted to do. Pay and allowances for town firefighters would be increased for the on-call part of their jobs.

“I appreciate we are asking staff to work differently, but we are also prepared to support them through a transition period and even invest any early savings into those support arrangements.”

“If the local brigade committee accept the agreement, which I hope they do, we have agreed to phase in the changes in over a reasonable period.

“However, if they vote to reject the agreement, the options we have open to us would be to continue to implement the changes and bring people on board as we progress or look at ways to maintain riding with crews of four in a more resilient manner .

“I hope we can find a way to move forward with these changes, in agreement with staff, but we also need to realise that increasing the crewing levels without working differently is not possible.”


Receive a weekly update to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter.

Online Editions

Catch up on your local news by reading our e-editions on the Evesham Observer.

Buy Photos

Buy photos online from the Evesham Observer newspaper.

Reader Travel

Check out all of the latest reader travel offers to get your hands on some free gifts.