London’s fire bosses are threatening to slash overtime payments—claiming that the service can manage with less.
Fire authority chair Brian Coleman commissioned a report after strikes last year claiming they revealed £2 million “savings” could be made. He believes that if there is no disaster with fewer firefighters, it somehow means they’ll never be needed in an emergency.
Ian Leahair, FBU executive member for London, said the idea of cutting overtime was “play-acting”, and the employers are using it “to mask the fact that they are about 150 firefighters under strength.”
The private firm that owns all of London’s fire engines is in more trouble.
HM Revenue and Customs has applied to have AssetCo wound up because of its unpaid tax. This could mean fire engines being “repossessed” by banks.
Last week the FBU union revealed that AssetCo’s chairman, chief executive and finance director were to resign.
The firm’s shares have two thirds of their value in the last month. It is desperate to raise more cash from investors after taking an emergency loan of £1.45 million.
AssetCo organised strike-breaking during the London firefighters’ strikes last year.