Gwent fire jobs could go as part of review
11:38am Monday 30th September 2013 in News
FIREFIGHTERS could lose their jobs if proposals to shut a Valleys fire station and scrap an appliance in Torfaen go ahead in December, South Wales Fire & Rescue Service has admitted.
Plans to close Blaina fire station, which is manned by 16 retained fire fighters, and to remove the retained appliance from Cwmbran fire station, crewed by 17 retained fire fighters there, have been put forward as part of a wide-ranging fire cover review.
Of all the fire stations in Gwent, only Cwmbran and Blaina are affected in stage two of the review. Stage one covered the Vale of Glamorgan, while stage three will include Caerphilly.
The fire service is currently recruiting auxiliary fire fighters to work during industrial strike action, such as the four-hour walk-out which took place last Wednesday.
In a statement, assistant chief fire officer Andrew Thomas said: “On Monday, September 23, the fire authority voted unanimously to accept the proposals recommended in stage one of the fire cover review.
“They also agreed that consultation on stage two should now take place.
“The consultation period for stage two will take place between October 1 and November 15.”
More than 4,300 people have now added their names to online petitions protesting the plans, while dozens of people gathered for a peaceful demonstration outside Blaina fire station last week.
ACFO Thomas said: “Changes to the way we are proposing to deliver our services...will not significantly increase the risk to the communities within those unitary authority areas.
“However, in the event the proposals are accepted by the fire authority in December following the consultation process, it is anticipated that job losses will result.”
He said it was not possible to identify a precise number of job losses, since some retained duty fire fighters could be redeployed.
A retained fire fighter must live within five minutes’ turnout time of the station.
Those who have set up the petitions have asked anyone commenting to send their feedback via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, in order to have their say recognised as part of the fire service’s consultation period.
There will be a demonstration outside the Ebbw Vale Civic Centre at 12.30pm on October 7, while chief fire officer Huw Jakeway will speak to councillors at a closed meeting inside.
Public consultation is scheduled to take place on October 17 and 18 but it is not yet clear where.
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