York & North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire firefighters sent home over new vehicles row

TRV North Yorkshire Image copyright NORTH YORKSHIRE FIRE
Image caption The new vehicles are smaller than a conventional fire engine and carry fewer crew members

Two fire officers were sent home without pay after refusing to operate a new vehicle..

The North Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union (FBU) says the new Tactical Response Vehicles, which need a smaller crew than a regular fire engine, are unsafe.

It said the decision to send home the officers, based in Scarborough, was "unnecessary and uncalled for".

The North Yorkshire Fire Authority said the vehicles do not pose any risk and the FBU was holding it to "ransom".

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Owen Hayward, assistant chief fire officer, said emergency cover remained in place and there was no risk to the public following the incident on Monday.

"After such a long time and a lot of consultation, the Fire Brigades Union appear to want to hold the authority to ransom and not crew vehicles that have been approved," he said.

"If staff are unwilling to ride them they are in breach of contract and we will continue to send them home without pay."

The introduction of TRVs was approved in 2015, but union members voted in favour of industrial action short of a strike in December 2016.

The first vehicle was due to go into service in Scarborough on Monday but the union notified the authority that members would refuse to operate them with a crew of only two or three.

Steve Howley, secretary of the FBU in North Yorkshire, said: "It is disgraceful that our members are being victimised by management for standing up to defend the safety of their colleagues and the public.

"It confirms a total disregard for public and firefighter safety."

The FBU says the Tactical Response Vehicles are "unsafe because they cannot perform firefighting or rescue operations at incidents where there is a risk to life, such as house fires".

Mr Hayward said the authority was continuing talks with the union.

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