Part-time firefighters in quit threat over changes
RETAINED firefighters in Llanelli have apparently made a dramatic move, threatening to resign if controversial changes go ahead.
Up to 13 part-time firefighters are understood to have signed a motion forwarded to the Mid and West Wales Fire Authority which raises concerns about the self-rostering crewing (SRC) system, which the fire service hopes to introduce next month.
The change is expected to see the number of full-time firefighters based in the town cut from 28 to 13.
Some firefighters fear the system will threaten the effectiveness of the service, with retained crews being drafted in from a wider geographical area, losing what they believe is vital geographical knowledge.
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In a joint letter to the fire authority, the retained firefighters said: "It is our express concern that not only will we bear the brunt of making the system work at all costs, but as our local knowledge and experience will be far greater than that of the crews drafted in to work SRC, we have deep concern that this system will have a significant impact on the health and safety of firefighters and the public alike.
"After careful consideration we will tender our resignations with immediate effect upon the introduction of the SRC system if it goes ahead.
"We refuse to be part of a system that does not guarantee our health and safety and does not provide the quality of response currently given by us and expected by the public."
The Fire Brigades' Union, which has fiercely opposed the changes, said the proposed action was taken by the individual officers.
A spokesman said: "This is not an FBU decision, but we have enormous sympathy for those fire officers."
And a Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that a document was received on Monday morning, February 11, and we are currently in communication with staff to verify the validity and origin of that document."
Llanelli MP Nia Griffith urged fire authority members to address the situation "as a matter of utmost urgency".
She said: "This is a very worrying development indeed. The prospect of suddenly losing a large number of experienced personnel inevitably raises concerns about whether the service will be able to provide the same level of fire cover in Llanelli."