Firefighters claim public support for campaign against Matlock cuts

Members of the Fire Brigades Union Derbyshire branch in Crown Square, Matlock, on Saturday.

Firefighters received significant support from members of the public as they staged a demonstration in Matlock against planned station cuts.

More than 100 members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) Derbyshire branch were in Crown Square on Saturday, February 10, to call attention to an ongoing public consultation over proposed changes to staffing systems.

Top national official Andy Dark and regional secretary Ben Selby addressed the crowd, before firefighters took to the streets to talk to members of the public.

Branch secretary Chris Tapp said: “Our message was really well received, and the public were incredibly supportive of our efforts to protect their level of fire cover.

“Firefighters were humbled that the people of Derbyshire once again reiterated how much they value the service and the work that our members do. It is inspiring as we continue our campaign.”

Members of the public have until Friday, February 16, to respond to the consultation outlines a choice of three options, which would reduce the number of full-time firefighters based at Matlock from 14 to eight, nine or zero.

The difference would be made up by an increase in on-call firefighters—members of the public paid to respond to emergencies—from 15 to 22.

The Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Authority says it must consider the move to make budget savings, and that it could be a achieved without compromising the safety of the public or firefighters.

The FBU dispute both claims, saying the budget cuts are unnecessary, emergency response times will increase and changes will disrupt families living in station housing.

Both the authority and the FBU say that if respondents to the consultation would opt for none of the three options offered, they should use the free text boxes provided to state their position.

For full details on the consultation, and to have your say, go to https://goo.gl/5QgLEf.

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