SIPTU Fire Fighters held an emergency meeting this week to discuss their reaction to the launching of the Department of Environment’s policy document, ‘Keeping Communities Safe’. The KCS document has now been adopted as National Policy. All it has achieved has been to force the hands of the unions in calling for a ballot for industrial action.
Last weeks EGM, attended by Retained Fire Fighters from 34 Services across the country, rejected the document’s proposals and agreed to resist its implementation by strike action if necessary. SIPTU representatives have stated that these policies are clearly intended as a cost saving exercise regardless of the implications for safety, particularly for those living in isolated areas.
Clare Daly fully supports the response by our Fire Fighters to what is a cost cutting exercise which will have serious implications for the safety of members of the service and the general public. She said, “It is clear that Retained Fire Fighters from across the service believe that the proposals display a disregard for their lives and the safety of the general public”.
The decisions in this document were reached without consultation and input from active operational Fire Fighters. The KCS policy document recommends a 20% reduction of crew levels and a change to automatic fire calls to discretionary calls, giving authorities the power to decide which emergencies to respond to. It is clear from their rejection of the document, that fire fighters themselves believe these changes will endanger lives.