Union warns Llanelli fire crew cuts will risk lives
FIREFIGHTERS in Llanelli have warned that lives will be lost after fire chiefs advertised their jobs.
The Fire Brigades Union is fighting plans to introduce a new crewing system that they say would reduce the number of firemen at Llanelli fire station from 28 to 13.
A FBU spokesman said: “It is arrogance of the highest degree when service managers feel they have the right to expose their fire crews and members of the local community to greatly increased risk.”
The union claims the jobs of firefighters at Llanelli fire station have been advertised and members could be forced to work at other fire stations.
The FBU spokesman added: “Who will bear the lion’s share of the responsibility when the inevitable member of public or firefighter fatality occurs.”
He went on to describe the proposed changes as “lunacy”.
The spokesman added: “Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service has already endured a reduction of well over 100 frontline posts over the past 10 years; there is no more scope for reduction.”
One firefighter at Llanelli fire station, who asked not to be named, said: “I feel as if someone is pulling out the rug from under my feet.
“All we can do is hold out hope that at the eleventh hour someone will see sense before anyone gets hurt.”
The FBU is considering legal action in a bid to thwart the changes.
A Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said the shift patterns were being improved and made more efficient, while emergency cover would remain the same.
She said staff working at Llanelli could apply for the positions within the new crewing systems. Those who did not wish to keep working at Llanelli could say where they would like to work and “we will do our utmost to accommodate them.
“The new crewing system at Llanelli will make better use of taxpayers’ money.”
The spokeswoman added that community safety would be improved.