Berkshire fire service chiefs pay rise 'ludicrous'

Pay rises for senior managers at a fire service have been described as "ludicrous" by its union.

Increases of 22% for some executives at Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) are ten times higher than for front-line crews.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said: "These revelations are a smack in the face of every firefighter working in Berkshire."

Royal Berkshire Fire Authority said the rises came after an independent review.

It added: "A streamlined senior management team structure was agreed through a reduction in senior posts with additional responsibilities being assigned to remaining post holders.

"An independent review of pay was then commissioned for the new responsibilities."

The union learned of the increases as officials prepared to meet managers to discuss a further £1.4m funding cut to the emergency service budget.

A spokesperson for the FBU said: "We are now sending out fire engines with a crew of four rather than the five we're used to, so don't talk to us about having a heavier workload."

Since 2010, 93 front-line firefighter jobs have been axed in Berkshire, while salaries went up by 2%.

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