OVER 200 back-office jobs could go at West Midlands Fire Service after bosses announced a round of voluntary redundancies this week.
Alan Tranter, of the Fire Officers Association, called the plans to offer voluntary redundancy to 214 support staff, ‘a disappointing and depressing reflection of the pressures created by cuts in public service funding.’
Cleaners, cooks and admin staff at fire stations across the region, including three Solihull employees, will be affected.
“We’re empathetic to the situation West Midlands Fire Service are facing. It’s a sad fact that the government made these unprecedented cuts,” said Mr Tranter.
“But job cuts are not the only way to make savings. That’s wrong.
“We don’t want anyone to lose their jobs.”
He added that losing around half of the service support staff, and ten per cent of the 2208-strong total workforce overall would “undoubtedly impact on front-line services.”
The service was forced to make substantial savings after a significant reduction in the grant funding from central government, expected to reach £30 million by 2014.
David Johnson, director of human resources at the region’s fire service, said voluntary redundancies had been offered in response to requests from trade unions, to avoid making redundancies compulsory.
“It is not the case that we are looking to shed more than 200 support staff.
“The organisation is committed to doing everything possible to avoid compulsory redundancies, including having in place a recruitment freeze since 2009.
“We will continue to work closely with the trade unions and our employees to seek to find satisfactory solutions to the unprecedented challenges we are facing as a result of central government cuts to our funding.”
The service has begun the consultation process with trade unions to discuss the timing and scope of the changes.