Do Croydon firefighters face the axe?

Croydon Guardian: Firefighters at Croydon fire station are among those to have been sent the letter Firefighters at Croydon fire station are among those to have been sent the letter

Firefighters have been asked to consider voluntary redundancy as fire service bosses prepare to cut millions from their budget.

Letters seeking expressions of interest in leaving their posts were sent out to all firefighters and non-uniform staff across London last week, as the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) look to make savings of £65m over the next two years.

It is understood £30m worth of savings need to be made between April 2013 and 2014, with a further £35 million to be saved the following financial year, on top of the £50m saved over the last four years, from previous restructuring.

A London Fire Brigade (LFB) Union official said firefighters in Croydon had no interest in redundancy and most had no desire to leave.

He said: "So far from everybody it sounds like a resounding no. I think our past experiences say people don't trust that it is just to gauge interest.

"The feeling is that if they express interest and it changes from voluntary to compulsory their names could be the name on the top of the list."

The union representative said he believed around 800 jobs had to go across London, but said he did not think any of Croydon's fire stations were under threat from closure.

He added: "They have not expressed or explained how they might do it. It could be fitness levels, qualifications, it could be you are sitting at a fire station that isn't too busy or they think is covered adequately.

"Croydon won't be closing and Purley is a private finance initiative (PFI) station, so there will be a station there for the next 25 years. Norbury covers Thornton Heath, it is a busy station and Addington has the big estate.

"But then the statistics they use to make a decision often change. No-one knows where the axe is going to fall so there is a lot of worry for firefighters across London."

The LFEPA formal proposals will be published on November 15, before undergoing public consultation.

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."

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