83 jobs axed at West Yorkshire fire stations

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More than 80 jobs are to be axed by West Yorkshire Fire Service as it implements the latest round of Government cuts.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority said that 83 jobs are to go to save £2.5m a year.

Fifty people have already volunteered for redundancy but 33 are facing compulsory redundancy.

The authority said the job losses would affect support staff only.

West Yorkshire acting secretary of the Fire Brigades Union David Williams said: “For front-line staff to work effectively we need the back-room staff. These cuts are incredibly short-sighted.”

An authority spokesman said: “A review of support staff is set to deliver £2.5m in savings for West Yorkshire’s hard-pressed fire budget.

“Fifty members of staff, from trainers to technicians, have been granted voluntary severance/retirement and will leave in October. Those people without a job in the new structure and who cannot be redeployed will face compulsory redundancy next March.

“Added to the number of staff who left in an earlier re-structure, the total number of non-operational posts lost since 2010 will be over 100, a third of the support staff workforce. Unions have been informed throughout the process.”

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Assistant Chief Fire Officer Martyn Redfearn said the authority was “struggling with many unpalatable decisions” due to cuts in grants imposed by the Government, and that resources would be concentrated on emergency services.

“We shall be slimmer and more efficient as a result of these latest changes with more work moved onto the operational staff and focusing on the most important areas,” he said.

Between now and 2015 the service will lose a further £12m in funding and Mr Redfearn said further job losses could not be ruled out.

The authority spokesman added: “Work has already begun to establish if further savings can be established without jeopardising public or firefighter safety.”

Last year the authority announced plans to shut 10 fire stations to be replaced by five ‘superstations’ and shed the jobs of 102 firefighters. Those closing included Gipton, Stanks, Rawdon, Hemsworth, and South Elmsall.

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