Fife fire cuts: union warns  cuts to Fife stations will ‘undermine’ service

Union leaders have warned that cuts planned for fire stations across the region will undermine firefighters’ bid to keep people and buildings safe.
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It comes just weeks before second or third appliances are due to be temporarily removed from Methil, Glenrothes and Dunfermline stations - for up to one year - and a height appliance stationed at Kirkcaldy withdrawn, with cover instead coming from Dunfermline.

The controversial proposals from the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS) are part of a package of measures to find £11m of savings, but they have been met6 with a huge backlash among firefighters and politicians across the region. The changes are due to be made on September 4.

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John McKenzie, Scottish secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said, "The Scottish Fire and Rescue service is in crisis because of repeated below inflation budget settlements from the Scottish Government.

Firefighters demonstrate outside Fife House over the controversial proposals. (Pic: FFP)Firefighters demonstrate outside Fife House over the controversial proposals. (Pic: FFP)
Firefighters demonstrate outside Fife House over the controversial proposals. (Pic: FFP)

“The withdrawal of appliances at these stations in Fife is the latest in a long line of cuts that are undermining our members' ability to keep communities and businesses safe. We cannot go on like this, our members will not sit back and watch the fire service being dismantled, we will taking our campaign across the country and directly to the politicians who are responsible for this mess."

He hit out as Fife’s MSPs were urged to push for a meeting with a Scottish Government Minister to discuss cuts the cuts. Alex Rowley wants the constituency members to back his call to meet with Siobhian Brown, Minister for Victims and Community Safety, who has refused his call for talks, citing operational matters - referring him back to the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service

Mr Rowley said: “I have met with management from the service and to date they have not provided any evidence upon which their proposals are based nor have they provided any impact assessments that have been done for the cuts. Given the level of cuts and concern, I do not consider it appropriate that the Minister responsible is refusing to meet with MSPs to hear the concerns of their constituents and my view is the Minister is hiding behind fire service managers.”

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Mr Rowley has announced a public meeting in the former fire station art gallery in Dunfermline on August 23.

In her letter to the Fife MSP, the Minister said she had received assurances from SFRS’ chief fire officer that the decision to temporarily remove appliances was “based on robust data and on the premise that community and firefighter safety will be maintained.

She added: “I have been informed that SFRS is currently developing a suite of documents to be made available and its aim is to have these available by August 16.