Warning over chronic staffing shortage in West Midlands Fire Service, as firefighters vote for industrial action

West Yorkshire Chairs Comment. “This is a stark warning which reflects a national picture of firefighters being asked to work longer hours on flat rates of pay”.

Firefighters in the West Midlands have voted to take industrial action in protest over plans that would lead to staff shortages and fire engines being unavailable for rescues. The results of the ballot mean staff will now participate in a ban on overtime shifts.

Moves by West Midlands Fire Service to replace the nationally agreed overtime pay rate of ‘time and a half’ with a flat rate salary will make the shifts less attractive, increasing the likelihood of staff shortages, say the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

Andrew Scattergood, FBU brigade chair in the West Midlands, said: “Senior managers are putting the public at risk by imposing what is essentially a pay-cut for our firefighters. It will dis-incentivise our firefighters to work all the shifts needed in order to provide a first class fire service for the people of the West Midlands.

“This new salary system will mean scores of fire engines being left out of action at any one time because the service simply doesn’t have the manpower to staff them. Firefighters came into this job to serve the public. We don’t want to take industrial action but we cannot simply stand by and watch our life-saving service, that the public rely on, turn to a threadbare and fragmented mess.

“It’s as if managers are trying to grind down our firefighters at a time when morale is already so low. Over the past five years our firefighters have been on the receiving end of attacks on every aspect of their work. Frontline jobs, fire stations and engines have all been cut back, our pensions and working conditions have been attacked and now our pay is the next assault.”

The industrial action will begin from 9AM on Thursday 3 March 2016.


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