All Members – Scotland
At a meeting of the SFRS Fire Board, on Thursday 24th September, where the FBU were present, a debate took place around the issue of spiraling overtime costs, primarily within the former Strathclyde FRS.
As a result of those discussions, the SFRS are now considering a broad range of options which would see the overtime budget significantly reduce over a period of time.
The FBU have been informed that an immediate measure to reduce this overspend is to remove four frontline appliances from operational service at pre-determined times and an instruction has been issued to this effect.
The FBU are in talks with the SFRS over this issue and have urgently sought assurances that all front-line appliances will continue to be crewed at all times, with the agreed number of personnel. This is in line with the Scottish Government’s commitment to protect the front-line fire service in Scotland through the creation of a single service.
To be clear -
- The FBU strongly disagrees with the removal of frontline appliances and consequent reduction in fire cover and will continue to make that clear during our discussions.
- We also oppose the practice of utilising pre-arranged overtime to ‘prop up’ a duty system which is clearly no longer staffed to the level required and previously agreed with the FBU. The Grey Book is quite clear that pre-arranged overtime will not be used to make up any planned shortfall in the overall staffing levels.
- The FBU are therefore calling on the SFRS to boost recruitment as a matter of priority, in order to ensure the duty systems in place are staffed to the agreed safe crewing levels and without such reliance on overtime.
- Furthermore, the FBU in Scotland are calling on the Scottish Government to urgently review the consequences of the current budget cuts being placed on the SFRS before the situation deteriorates further.
FBU members will be kept regularly informed of the outcome of our talks as they progress.