Essex: angry firefighters want further talks over job cuts

PLANS to cut the amount of firefighters in Essex by 50 over the next six months have been met with anger today (Friday). In what is being labelled as a surprise move the county s fire authority has decided to press ahead with a series of cuts from Octob

PLANS to cut the amount of firefighters in Essex by 50 over the next six months have been met with anger today (Friday).

In what is being labelled as a "surprise move" the county's fire authority has decided to press ahead with a series of cuts from October 1.

Fire crews say the move is provocative and have asked for the decision to be suspended while talks to resolve the dispute continue.

Specialist crews on high reach and other specialist emergency vehicles at Colchester, Harlow and Chelmsford will be mainly hit by the cuts.


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Firefighters union, the FBU, says that the cull will leave too few firefighters on duty to crew all the vehicles and will put the safety of firefighters and the public at risk.

FBU regional secretary, Adrian Clarke, said: "This is a highly provocative move and we will face pressure from Essex fire crews to escalate industrial action. We have asked for the decision to be suspended while talks continue and to defuse some of the real anger this move has provoked.

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Essex Fire and Rescue Service are set to implement a rolling programme of cuts to the frontline 999 emergency response service.

The County's Fire Authority, which governs the fire service, proposes to cut the number of firefighters from 954 firefighters in December 2008, to an average of 940 during 2008/9, to 920 during 2009/10, to 905 in March 2010.

A number of those jobs would go by changing the way higher reach aerial ladder platforms and rescue tenders are crewed.

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