Fears over future of firefighters

A UNION chief has warned that closures to fire stations in the region will have a detrimental affect on the borough.

The concerns come following the announcement that 140 jobs at South Yorkshire fire service will be slashed as attempts are made to make £10 million a year worth of funding cuts by 2015.

According to proposals that will go before the South Yorkshire Fire Authority on Monday, 108 full-time firefighters and 32 retained firefighters will be cut - bringing the brigade down from 877 to 734.

Fire chiefs plan to cut the retained duty officers based in Edlington and close Mansfield Road and Darnall fire stations in Sheffield in 2014/15.

Fire Brigades Union secretary John Gilliver said their members were “extremely concerned”.

He added: “Mexborough and Brampton in Rotherham have been closed so to have more stations shut in the region will have a detrimental affect.

“Our members have concerns over their futures, they feel they are in a vulnerable position.

“We rely on our firefighters and to have them taken away will have a huge impact on all of the region.”

Mr Gilliver said there were no plans for industrial action locally, however nationally talks were on-going with the Government over pension reforms.

Doncaster could come to a standstill on November 30 as thousands of the borough’s public sector workers join the country’s mass walkout.

A spokesman for the council confirmed the authority had been notified staff would be taking part in next month’s action.

Jim Bell, Unison regional officer, said members have until Thursday to vote.

He added: “In the health service, staff are worried they will have their contributions cut by 50 per cent and they will have to work longer but still get less.

“Our staff are suffering as a result of the financial crisis, they are paying the price for something which is not their fault.”