Llanelli Rural Council backs Fire Brigades Union over alleged Working Time Regulations breach
LLANELLI Rural Council has pledged its support to the Fire Brigades Union over "disgusting" working hours that go "back to the dark ages".
At September's council meeting, FBU brigade secretary Barrie Davies criticised the fire authority's report on crewing changes for Llanelli Fire Station.
A key topic of discussion was the fire authority's alleged breach of Regulation 10 of The Working Time Regulations 1998.
But a spokeswoman for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said the new crewing system was introduced in Llanelli in early April and "has been operating successfully since then".
Regulation 10 refers to daily rest – stating that an adult worker is entitled to a rest period of no less than 11 consecutive hours in each 24-hour period.
Mr Davies believes that at present, the fire authority is operating in clear breach of the regulations, with Llanelli staff having to be in work for up to four consecutive 24 hour periods without leaving.
Legal action is being taken by 23 former Llanelli firefighters against the fire authority over these controversial changes to the town's crewing system.
Staff numbers have been slashed in half at the station, and fire chiefs and union representatives failed to negotiate further on this issue.
Llanelli Rural Councillors said they were shocked at Mr Davies's presentation and pledged their support to the union.
Councillor Sian Caiach said: "Is there anything we can do to help you?
"We are very shocked that the Working Time Regulations is being ignored.
"If these people are on 24-hour shifts then we are going back to the dark ages and it's ridiculous that public services like the fire brigade are going back like this.
"If people are sitting there for four days in our fire stations it is just ridiculous, we might as well go back to having chimney sweeps."
Councillor Robert Evans echoed her views.
He said: "These boys are putting their lives on the line every time they leave the station. I think it is absolutely disgusting. We are all behind you 100 per cent and you are going to win because it is an absolute joke."
Councillor Tegwen Devichand added: "They just don't just cover fire, there's so much going on with flooding and traffic accidents. We can't expect these boys to be dealing with this on their own."
Councillor Bill Thomas moved that the council bring back an original motion made in June venting disappointment at the lack of further negotiations following staffing cuts.
He proposed the members' concerns over Working Time Regulations be added to that motion, and councillors voted unanimously in favour.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed firefighters in England and Wales will stage a four-hour strike on Wednesday September 25, regarding pensions.