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London firefighters' morale at 'all time low' after voluntary redundancy calls as London Fire Brigade tries to make £65m cuts
FIREFIGHTERS say morale is at an “all time low” after calls for voluntary redundancy as the brigade tries to make £65m cuts.
Front-line staff have been given letters to “gauge interest” about redundancy packages but the London Fire Brigade (LFB) stressed no decision has yet been made.
It follows plans outlined by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson to slash £65m of the LFB’s budget over the next two years.
The London Fire Brigades’ Union says it is “highly unlikely” such an “unattractive offer” would appeal to the majority of its members.
But with up to 30 stations under threat of closure across the capital, the redundancy package might not be as unappealing.
A firefighter, who asked not to be named, told News Shopper that they thought people would consider the option in such uncertain times.
They said: “It is pretty scary times.
“I think it [opinion] is mixed – I think morale is at an all-time low and the job is not what it used to be and so people have had different feelings about the fire brigade.
“For those who want it as a vocation, they are feeling disheartened about the way it is going – it used to be about camaraderie, so I think people will definitely be interested in taking voluntary redundancy.
“It isn’t a job that people join at 20 and stay for 30 years - they want people to flit in and out – they want it to be like other workplaces.
“It is awful. I wanted to do it since I was 13 for all the clichés – working with a group, helping people…
"I don’t think I would take voluntary redundant at this time. But I wouldn’t rule it out because the job is moving from what I thought it was going to be and it is now uncertain.
"In 20 years there is no guarantee it will be a public service.”
An LFB spokesman said: “Like virtually every other public service, the Brigade is facing the need to make savings.
"We have been given a target for these savings, and we are currently considering our response to this.
"All options are being considered but no decisions have yet been made.”
He added that the letter sent out is just to “gauge interest” at this stage.
Negotiations are ongoing and formal proposals to budget cuts will be published on November 15.
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