Firefighters vow industrial action if crewing levels cut

More than 1,700 retained firefighters across the country have voted in favour of industrial action up to striking over what their union describes as Government plans to decrease appliance crewing levels.

The firefighters, members of Siptu, say the action will be implemented if there is any attempt to bring in these changes. However, the Department of the Environment denied any proposals to reduce crewing levels.

Siptu’s national retained firefighter organiser, Con Casey, said: “Our members have voted resoundingly to oppose any attempt to unilaterally implement cuts to crewing levels or other changes to national agreements, which they believe will endanger firefighters and the public.”

The union’s sectoral organiser Brendan O’Brien, said that any attempt to impose changes contained in the Department of the Environment’s Keeping Communities Safe document would trigger preparation for industrial or strike action.

Siptu represents more than 1,700 of the 2,000 retained firefighters employed by local authorities.

A spokesman for the Department of the Environment said: “We are unaware of the information provided to Siptu members or the motion for the ballot referred to, but there are no proposals to change any aspect of fire service provision, other than normal ongoing changes, and it is regrettable that retained fire services appear to be drawn into other disputes,” Specifically, there are no proposals for reduction in staffing levels in fire stations or crewing levels on fire appliances.”

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