Hertfordshire firefighters join mass rally over ‘job cuts’

FIREFIGHTERS from Hertfordshire joined a mass rally in London to protest against “the most serious onslaught on our 999, fire and rescue service in living memory”.

Hundreds of firefighters, control staff and officers from Hertfordshire joined thousands of members of the Fire Brigade Union at a rally held at Central Hall, Westminster, last Wednesday.

Steve Duncan, watch commander at Hatfield and Hertfordshire’s FBU brigade chairman, said: “In an emergency, firefighters work on the frontline of the frontline.

“Now we are facing the most serious onslaught on our 999 fire and rescue service in living memory.

“Just over three years ago two stations in Hertfordshire were closed and 12 frontline firefighting posts were controversially cut and at the time we were told there would be no more cuts to the frontline.”

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The union claims the proposed �6m cut by Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service will mean the number of professionally trained firefighters will fall, fire stations will close and fire engines will be axed.

All of which they say could lead to a slower response to 999 calls from the public who find themselves caught up in an emergency.

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Roy Wilsher, Hertfordshire’s chief fire officer, said: “The safety of Hertfordshire residents, and our own staff, has always been, and always will be our priority.

“These are tough financial times, for both the private and public sector, including Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, but we are working with our staff to face these difficult times together.

“We still don’t know the exact level of savings we will be required to make, and the �6m being quoted by the FBU is an absolute worst case planning scenario.

“Any savings will be made over a four-year period, which gives us time to make the necessary adjustments and any savings identified will be the subject of full consultation with the public and our partners.”

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