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‘We need a radical investment in firefighter recruitment to keep the public safe’

SCOTLAND’S fire service is not recruiting enough firefighters to make up for “a decade of severe cuts,” the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said yesterday.

The number of firefighters in Scotland has increased by just 197 over the past year. But this 3 per cent increase still means that there are 917 fewer Scottish firefighters than in 2010.

Chris McGlone, FBU executive council member for Scotland, said: “Firefighter numbers in Scotland have been slashed over the last decade. This incremental increase in posts is nowhere near enough to make up the difference.

“The need for firefighters is clearly only increasing as climate change impacts Scotland. We need a radical investment in firefighter recruitment to keep the public safe.”

Scottish firefighters recently rejected a proposed 16 per cent pay rise over four years, saying it was tied to a deal over expanding firefighters’ roles and reducing additional payments.

“Pay for firefighters has been restrained for too long,” Mr McGlone said. 

“The massive reduction in firefighter numbers has seen every firefighter take on a heavier workload. We need a real-terms pay rise for firefighters that is both fair and serious.”

Firefighters in Scotland rescued over 3,500 people last year. 

Three thousand were rescued from non-fire incidents while nearly 500 were rescued from fires.

Following a series of blazes in quick succession last month, including at the listed Howden’s engineering works in Glasgow and at Woodmill High School in Dunfermline, FBU Scottish secretary Denise Christie warned of the impact of cuts to the service.

She said firefighters were “continually being asked to do more with less and something always gives.”

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said:  “We are continuing to work with the Fire Brigades Union to reach an agreement that is in the best interests of our firefighters and communities throughout Scotland.”


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