FBU News: Ludicrous pay rises to directors at Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service have been slammed by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
According to the results of a freedom of information request, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s director of people and organisational development, Anne-Marie Scott, was this year awarded a 21.35% pay increase. Deputy chief fire officer Trevor Ferguson saw his pay rise by 14.96% and chief fire officer, Andy Fry, was handed a 10.38% increase. Assistant chief fire officer Paul Southern received a 5.01% pay rise.
The revelations come as frontline firefighters and control staff find their pay capped at a below inflationary 1% for the fifth year in a row. This came after a two-year period when pay for all firefighters was frozen as part of the government’s public sector pay freeze.
Richard Jones, secretary of the FBU in the south east, said: “These revelations are a smack in the face of every firefighter working in Berkshire who has suffered years of pay freezes and pay caps only for those at the top to be substantially rewarded. It is a clear example of one rule for them and another for us.
“Firefighters’ workloads are increasing as budget cuts have dramatically reduced the number of personnel in the service. We are having to do a lot more work with fewer resources.
“We are facing budget cuts of up to £2.5 million from frontline service across Berkshire over the next three years. Fire service staff are distraught at being under threat of redundancy. The fact that directors have been awarded a whopper pay rise is an insult.”
Since 2010, 93 frontline firefighter jobs have been axed in Berkshire.
From FBU online: A dramatic decline in the amount of fire prevention work that fire and rescue services perform is putting lives at risk, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said, as new figures show that 10,000 jobs have been axed in England over the last seven years.
The home office’s ‘Fire Operational Statistics Bulletin’, released today, also reveals:
The figures are worrying because the number of fire deaths has rocketed by 15% in the past year – the single biggest percentage increase in 20 years.
The union has also warned of a ‘generational time bomb’ as the number of young firefighters aged between 16-24 has dropped by a shocking 40% in the past five years reflecting a lack of recruitment. The average age of a firefighter is now 41.
Andy Dark, FBU assistant general secretary, said: “We are deeply concerned about the impact of job cuts on the public’s fire and rescue service. The government’s data shows that fire services are now cutting back even further on fire prevention work because the workforce has been stripped. Fire services are struggling to cope with the current workload.
“The government have prioritised balancing the books over all else, including public safety. These figures paint a damning picture of today’s fire and rescue service, which is simply not safe in the hands of this government. Resources continue to be slashed, it’s taking longer to get to fires and more people are dying as a result.”
The new findings are the latest in a series of alarming statistics that show how budget cuts are compromising the service the public receive. In addition to the rising number of fire deaths announced in August, it was revealed late last year that response times to fires are now at their slowest in 20 years.
The full home office bulletin can be found here.
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