Sheffield & South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire fire chiefs to repay strike cash

FBU members marching Image copyright PA
Image caption Firefighters staged a series of strikes in 2013 in a dispute over pensions

Senior fire officers have agreed to pay back about £27,000 in overtime payments made during the 2013 fire strikes.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) paid chief fire officer Jamie Courtney £14,390 and assistant chief fire officer John Roberts £13,425.

A review said the payments were lawful but the region's fire authority recommended the officers consider repayment following union concerns.

A SYFR spokesman said the money would be repaid "voluntarily".

The two men received the payments after covering almost 300 hours of firefighter strike action during a national dispute over changes to their pensions.

The fire service said: "Principal Officers at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue have agreed to voluntarily pay back contingency payments earned whilst covering firefighter strike action, following a recommendation by the Fire Authority's Audit Committee," he said.

"However, after considering the concerns of Fire Authority members, principal officers have agreed to pay the money back so that all parties are better able to work constructively together to meet the significant transformational challenges the service faces in the future."

The fire service said it was unable to speak for former deputy chief fire officer, Mark Shaw, as he had retired.

Mr Shaw was paid £14,820.

Neil Carbutt, from the South Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union, said the decision was "quite right" and "no more than firefighters would have expected".

But he said he believed the episode meant "firefighters across the county have lost faith and trust in the those that make strategic decisions within our authority".

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