Wednesday, September 5, 2012

NSW Firefighters Union @FBEU fires up to fight #FRNSW station closures

FIRE stations in the eastern suburbs could close "at any time of day or night" thanks to a significant funding cut.

The state government has announced a $25 million cut in the Fire and Rescue NSW budget over the next four years, including a $7 million cut this financial year.

Fire Brigade Employees Union state secretary Jim Casey said he was in negotiations with the agency to avoid closing stations.

But Mr Casey said it was not clear if their solutions would be accepted.

"They have indicated their preference for temporarily closing stations in order to fill gaps in staffing at other stations," he said.

"It could mean any of the stations in the eastern suburbs could be shut at any time of day or night to fill staffing gaps. We see this as the first step towards permanent station closures."

A Fire and Rescue NSW spokeswoman said they had identified a small number of stations in Sydney which could be "taken offline temporarily when less than four firefighters are available due to staff absence".

Despite the response from Mr Casey on the same day, the spokeswoman said: "after ongoing negotiations between the parties and subsequent appearances before the Industrial Relations Commission, the commissioner has agreed to delay taking fire stations temporarily offline."

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