Plans to 'sack' Greater Manchester firefighters met with anger

Salford Fire Station, Greater Manchester Image copyright PA
Image caption GMFRS said the shift changes was the only way to make the necessary cuts

Every firefighter in Greater Manchester will be sacked and only those agreeing to a new 12-hour shift rota will be reinstated, a union has claimed.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service's (GMFRS) plan to sack 1017 staff was "appalling".

GMFRS has to make £14m of cuts and said shift changes which would save £10m were the only way to do so.

It said it had no intention of making people redundant.

'Angry members'

The service said letters had been sent to all firefighters outlining shift changes and consultation with station staff had started.

The FBU's Greater Manchester brigade secretary Gary Keary said he had been contacted by "lots of angry FBU members".

He said: "I've been inundated with calls from firefighters with caring responsibilities, especially females saying if the changes are imposed they are going to have to give up their careers - you just can't get childcare for 12 hour shifts.

"To start the process for dismissing firefighters to then simply re-engage them on an un-negotiated contract is really appalling, and a serious breach of the agreed mechanisms for industrial relations in the UK fire and rescue service."

He added: "This is the third change to shift systems in Greater Manchester since 2006 - surely firefighters are entitled to some sort of stability in their working lives?"

'Increase in fire deaths'

David Acton, chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority (GMRA), said in a statement: "We have developed a new shift duty system for firefighters which changes from a day shift of 10 and a half hours and a night shift of 13 and a half hours to two equal shifts of 12 hours.

"This saves almost £10m whilst retaining 32 more firefighter jobs on the frontline."

The FBU said figures released by GMFRS show an increase of 140% in all rescues over the last 12 months, "alongside an extremely worrying threefold increase in fire deaths".

Mr Acton said GMRA had been consulting with the union since January.

"If we cannot agree on how we do this together we will have to implement it on 1 April," he said.

In June GMFRS approved 250 firefighter job cuts .

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