The RFU is appalled at the proposals put forward by Cumbria Fire Service/County Council to find additional savings within the Fire Service of £0.54million, these proposals are now in the public domain and form part of a consultation exercise of all County Council departments.
The RFU locally were not made aware of the proposals until 1 hour before the media so it has come as quite a shock to us all.
As a union, we are fundamentally against the proposed method of finding these savings, and will, over the coming weeks put together an alternative proposal that doesn't impact across such a large area of the county or impact against so many.
The On-Call units currently at risk within the proposals are:
- Dalton Fire Station
- Ulverston 2nd pump
- Workington 2nd pump
- Whitehaven 2nd pump
- Maryport 2nd pump
- Penrith RDS pump
- Kendal RDS pump
We are also very disappointed that the Service/Council is willing to cause large disruption within the RDS to save, what is in relative terms, small savings at each On-Call station identified within the proposals.
While the consultation document states that call levels and risk has reduced significantly, it would appear that certain aspects within the service are 'untouchable' when it comes to looking at a more modern, cost-effective method of providing fire cover to the public.
It is clear that whoever put together these proposals clearly has no idea how to provide value for money within the FRS and not read the recent Knight report 'Facing the Future' which highlights the cost effectiveness of On-Call staff. There are also big question marks over how resilient the county would be during a major incident or periods of industrial action, if so many On-Call staff were to lose their jobs.
We will not allow these proposals that are not in the interests of the staff or the public to go unchallenged .
RFU Secretary, Cumbria