The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and activists on Merseyside have been celebrating victory in their campaign to prevent the acceleration of a plan to make drastic cuts to fire cover on Merseyside that firefighters said would cost lives of the public and those protecting them.
The local authority had planned to bring forward the programme of closures and downgrades from early 2019 to 10 September this year – but the acceleration has been cancelled, giving the FBU and local residents more time to campaign for the cancellation of the whole programme.
But a shock – and seemingly pointless – move by the local fire authority threatens to take the shine off the celebrations.
An email from the Chief Fire Officer, obtained by the SKWAWKBOX, signals a plan to disband the crews at two key stations – Wallasey on the Wirral and Liverpool City Centre – and scatter them to different stations in the region:
The move has sparked outrage among those who are aware of it. A spokesperson for Merseyside FBU said:
The FBU welcomes the news that the political leaders have overturned the decision to remove night-time fire cover at Wallasey and the City Centre Fire Stations, it is a victory for common sense and was brought about by a campaign that brought together political groups and the members of the public. Merseyside’s firefighters would especially like to thank the Merseyside Constituency Labour Parties for their outstanding support and organisation against these cuts.
However, in a move that the FBU describe a ‘simply nasty and vindictive’ Chief Fire Officer Garrigan has informed all the firefighters at Wallasey and City Centre that they will be moved to other fire stations and other firefighters will be posted to Wallasey and City Centre. These actions are seen as purely an attack on FBU members who stood up for their communities, these actions demean the role of Chief Fire Officer.
The FBU calls on the Fire Authority to stop these postings as some firefighters have worked at those locations for 30 years and do not deserve to be treated in this manner. Firefighters affected by these postings are disgusted with the CFO who was only appointed to the position earlier this week.
A local firefighter told the SKWAWKBOX:
The Chief Fire Officer will state that he needs to post the firefighters to other locations because other locations are short staffed but it makes no sense. If those stations need more crew, why not simply post the firefighters he is moving to Wallasey and City Centre to those other locations instead?
Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan was contacted for comment. He responded:
This is absolutely not the case. The Authority with the support of the city region leaders have spent the last month trying to come up with options to protect the night time fire cover in Liverpool City and Wallasey and have now successfully committed to that provision into the fourth quarter 2018/19.
I think the commitment of all parties to protect the fire and rescue service is evident in the statement made to the press yesterday.
The Authority as am I are committed to protecting the pubic now and importantly in the future.
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