Fire Brigades Union says Manea on-call firefighters recruitment drive will not work until conditions improved

Manea fire station recruiting on-call firefighters.

Manea fire station recruiting on-call firefighters. - Credit: Archant

There will continue to be a shortage of on-call firefighters until conditions are improved, the Fire Brigades Union claims.

Manea Fire Station has launched an urgent SOS, backed by MP Steve Barclay, for new on-call firefighters to help keep the station open.

There are six on-call firefighters with the station the moment but the service needs to increase this number to ensure there are enough people available to cover call-outs.

But Cameron Matthews, Cambs secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, says the strain placed on on-call firefighters has seen “unprecedented numbers” resign from the service.

Mr Matthews said: “In Cambridgeshire over the last few years we have regrettably seen unprecedented numbers of on call firefighters resign from service.

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“This puts a strain on local fire and rescue resilience, particularly in a rural brigade like Cambridgeshire.

“Despite four years of local initiatives and allocated resources, the serious issues experienced by Cambs Fire and Rescue surrounding recruitment and retention, clearly identifies the need that radical progressive intervention is urgently required at a national level.

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“Undoubtedly a significant factor is the now desperate need for an improvement in the terms, conditions and remuneration of our retained firefighters so that it is commensurate to this highly demanding role; hundreds of hours availability per month, working in dangerous environments, higher risk to personal health.

“The employment market is clearly identifying the current terms which have rapidly degraded over the last half a decade, are no longer competitive enough to retain our firefighters under these circumstances.

“We appeal to Cambs fire chiefs to finally break their silence on this matter and join us in our campaign for badly needed improvements in terms and conditions for all firefighters. Our communities’ safety may very well depend upon it.”

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