Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Coleman comes clean on his fire cuts plan

The Evening Standard carries an astonishing new article about Coleman's policy-making-on-the-hoof. Their headline is "Tories propose 500 firefighter cuts after strike". And they said this dispute had nothing to do with cuts...

Here's part of the article:
Mr Coleman said the FBU action — during which the capital's emergency fire cover was provided by 700 private contractors using 27 fire engines — had highlighted an apparent surplus of equipment and firefighters.

The 27 engines remain “off the run” and are being held on stand-by at a depot in Ruislip in the event of future strikes. The brigade has also been operating with FBU staff refusing to work overtime as part of their action against proposed shift changes. London has about 5,500 frontline firefighters.

But Mr Coleman said: “We are really grateful to the FBU for showing us that there are possible efficiencies. The union has banned overtime for two to three months and London doesn't seem to have come to a halt.”

Brigade officers are due to report within a fortnight on the savings. The brigade is facing a 25 per cent cut in government funding — which makes up 60 per cent of its budget — over the next four years. It is understood that 260 firefighters are able to retire immediately, having completed 30 years' service. Other posts would be cut through two years of “natural wastage” and a continued recruitment freeze.
[An observation: AssetCo only deployed about 162 staff during the recent strikes, not 700 as the article implies.]

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