Local Campaigns – update
Following on from our last e-bulletin when we reported to you that formal RFU responses had been submitted to a number of draft IRMPs that proposed reductions to Retained resources which included station closures.
The RFU was the only fire service union to submit a written response to the service proposals. Our submission not only identified the flaws in the proposals but also provided an alternative measure of savings that could be made without closing stations or losing frontline appliances.
The end result was that the council threw out the Chief’s proposals, with councillors asking for a complete rethink on the matter.
Again, service management came up with plans that included the closure of a Retained station, Painswick, all under the pretext of saving money. The RFU’s overall response was approval of the plans excluding the closure of Painswick.
Unfortunately this is one battle that we did not win, as councillors agreed to push forward with all the proposals.
The most severe of cuts to the Retained service was proposed in Cumbria where up to five stations were up for closure (Arnside, Lazonby, Frizington, Walney and Stavely) plus the loss of the second appliance at Maryport.
Once again the RFU not only identified the major flaws in the proposals but provided an alternative option that would have maintained frontline resources.
Councillors listened to our concerns and like Leicestershire, threw out all of the proposals.
Clearly the recent experiences of local flooding focused the minds of councillors and helped to enforce our argument that when it comes to saving money the council needs to look elsewhere and not reduce Retained Duty System (RDS) resources.
Among a number of proposals, three Retained stations were up for closure in Norfolk, Heacham, Outwell and West Walton.
Following our lobbying of local elected members and Norfolk MPs, councillors last week voted to remove £845,000 worth of cuts from their recommendations, allowing the aforementioned stations to remain by raising council tax.
Retained firefighters should be in no doubt that when it comes to fighting for its members, the RFU will do so in a professional, measured and informed manner.
Credibility is easily lost when a union continuously cries wolf over public risk and the loss of lives. The RFU is different, we will use the power of argument, knowledge and experience to discredit any service proposals that do not stand up to scrutiny and are not in the interests of our members and the public. We will always provide alternative, innovative proposals to demonstrate how services could and should be working in the future.
Our arguments are not about maintaining the status-quo but about modernisation and new, smarter ways of working.
If you want the protection of a union dedicated to Retained/On-Call firefighters, join us today.
New Benefits and Discounts Scheme for Members
Last week we launched RFU Rewards, an exclusive portfolio containing money-saving discounts and offers, designed to support members both personally and professionally. There is no sign up process, nor any extra charge to access these benefits – you are automatically eligible to access these benefits by virtue of your membership!
Not a member? You can join today and start to enjoy the benefits immediately.