Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/633/9995
Wales: No to fire service cuts
"It shows how far they'll go in making these cuts-they're willing to put our lives at risk. All the rich mates of these politicians have to do is whistle and they get handed billions of pounds of our money and then they tell us there's not enough left to run emergency services!"
Ross Saunders, Cardiff Socialist Party
This was the response of one person who signed the Socialist Party's petition against cuts in the fire service planned for South Wales.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has reported that 50 jobs could be lost as part of the fire service's mis-named 'Risk Reduction Plan'. Three fire stations have been targeted first for cuts - in Maesteg, New Inn Pontypool and also Penarth, which lost 12 firefighters 18 months ago and could now lose another 16.
The fire authority has been ordered to make £4.5 million worth of cuts over five years, first by the last Labour government and now by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition.
Clearly a strategy to reduce fire cover in South Wales exists - and this is from an already low level. FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said that 3,000 firefighters' jobs were lost in the last five years under Labour - now the Con Dem government wants to cut into the very bones of the service.
South Wales FBU chair Mark Watt has warned that the cuts faced today are the "thin end of the wedge" and South Wales FBU secretary Cerith Griffiths told the local press that firefighters could have no option but to take strike action to stop the plan. 80 firefighters protested outside the fire authority's last meeting but their request to address the meeting was denied.
Like other public sector workers, firefighters are also facing a pay freeze and attacks on their pension entitlements.
The Socialist Party says:
In The Socialist 21 July 2010:
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