The London Fire Brigade have been trying to impose a change in the current shift system on its fire-fighters. This has been in the pipeline for some time and would benefit the LFB management to the detriment of its workforce.
These new proposals will not only damage the conditions and family life of our fire-fighters. Cost cutting will also reduce fire cover for Londoners.
The LFB propose a change from the current shift system to one of a 12 hour pattern. According to the LFB the main reason for this proposal is to increase productivity at key points of the day. That is, at the start and end of each shift, 9am and 6pm respectively.
However, what the proposed shift changes would really mean is:
1) A standardised shift pattern where fire-fighters could be moved around more easily at short notice, to cover staff shortages for example. Fire-fighters could be made to work 4 days or 3 nights and be forced into a flexible work pattern.
2) A reduction in fire cover at night. If a station is quiet then staff could be moved and a reduced fire cover service would be provided ultimately leading to the loss of fire-fighters and appliances for London, and a cut in established levels of staffing.
3) Time spent with families will be greatly reduced with the 12 hour shifts. Fire-fighters with young children would find childcare arrangements a problem and would see less of their children.
4) The abolition of night time stand-down where fire fighters can rest during the night whilst providing emergency fire cover.
The FBU fire brigades union is fully opposed to the implementation of the shift changes and will fight the issues on behalf of its members as it believes the changes will only affect the fire-fighters and the public in a detrimental way.