A FURTHER 50 support staff are to leave West Yorkshire fire and rescue service in a new round of swingeing budget cuts.
Workers from trainers to technicians have been given voluntary severance/retirement and will go in October.
Those without a job in the resulting structure and who can’t be redeployed face compulsory redundancy in March, pushing the job loss figure up to 83.
Taking into account support staff who left in an earlier revamp, the total number of non-operational posts lost since 2010 will be more than 100 – a third of the support workforce.
And fire chiefs can’t rule out yet more support staff cuts.
West Yorkshire acting secretary of the Fire Brigades Union David Williams said: “For front-line staff to work effectively we need the back-room staff. These cuts are incredibly short-sighted.”
This latest major staff review is set to save £2.5m a year for the hard-pressed fire and rescue service budget.
The authority said the job losses would affect support staff only.
Assistant chief fire officer Martyn Redfearn said the fire and rescue authority was struggling with unpalatable decisions in the wake of cuts in central government grants.
The restructuring of support staff was aimed at concentrating resources on core emergency services.
“We will be slimmer and more efficient as a result of these latest changes with more work being moved on to operational staff and focusing on key areas,” he said.
“Our challenging safety targets set for 2015 remain, so we will continue to provide the best frontline service possible by making difficult choices.”
Mr Redfearn said with a potential loss of another £12m in central funding between now and 2014/15, more support job losses could not be ruled out.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority agreed a £4m fire cover rationalisation package in February.
An authority spokesman said: “Work has already begun to establish if further savings can be established without jeopardising public or firefighter safety.”