Firefighters sent home in vehicle dispute

Firefighters in Scarborough were sent home this week after refusing to work on a new Tactical Response Vehicle (TRV).

Friday, 20th January 2017, 10:14 am
Updated Friday, 20th January 2017, 10:17 am

Union members in Scarborough are currently undertaking industrial action over the loss of an engine.

Nigel Hutchinson, chief fire officer for North Yorkshire, took the decision to send two staff members on Monday after a fire engine was removed from service at Scarborough fire station and replaced with a TRV.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service says it has offered a deal to the Fire Brigades Union in the hope of ending the action.

In a statement assistant chief fire officer Owen Hayward said: "Following notification from the Fire Brigades Union on the 15th December and 10th January, of action of short of a strike, the Service, received further notification on 13th January which stated that from 8am on 16th January the industrial action will include: “A refusal to ride a standard Fire Appliance or Tactical Response Vehicle with a crew of only two or three riders."

"The Tactical Response Vehicle, crewed with 3 staff, has replaced one of the two standard fire engines at Scarborough, and was due to become operational at 8am on the 16th January. "This means that this Industrial Action has resulted in this vehicle being unavailable during some shifts."

He added that the other engine was staffed as normal and was able to attend call-outs.

The Fire Brigades Union claims the TRVs are unsafe because they cannot perform firefighting or rescue operations at incidents where there is a risk to life, such as house fires.

Steve Howley, secretary of the FBU in North Yorkshire, said: “The actions of the CFO were uncalled for and unnecessary.

“He has sullied his reputation and put the safety of the public at risk. It is disgraceful that our members are being victimised by management for standing up to defend the safety of their colleagues and the public. It confirms a total disregard for public and firefighter safety. The way that managers want to utilise and crew TRV’s is creating a major safety issue and moral dilemma for our firefighters.

“If these vehicles were the first ones to respond to a major fire, as management has indicated they could be, all they could do is survey the scene. They cannot perform rescue operations and have limited firefighting capabilities. These proposals are going to significantly increase the risk to firefighters and the public getting seriously injured or killed.”

Scarborough's TRV broke down on its first outing for a training exercise.