Councillors support fire union bid to prevent privatisation of Cleveland Fire Brigade (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Councillors support fire union bid to prevent privatisation of Cleveland Fire Brigade
MORE than 50 firefighters packed out a council meeting in a show of support to members’ plans to oppose controversial proposals to change the fire service.
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council were asked to consider a motion from Councillor Ian Jeffrey who was calling on the authority to fight government plans to enable the creation of a public service mutual at Cleveland Fire Brigade.
The vast majority of councillors want the fire service to remain in the public sector and believe any form of privatisation would lead to problems.
Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick said: “These essential blue light services should never be at the peccadillo of private enterprise, they should be left alone and the public purse should always fund it.”
Independent member Steve Kay threw his support behind the motion, saying: “I will always vote for public services to stay in public ownership.”
While labour Councillor Billy Ayre hit out at the brigade’s idea of training up auxiliary staff.
He said: “Recruiting members of the public to train as part time fire fighters with minimal training is not going to get them up to the standards of regular fire fighters.”
The motion received cross party support with 35 members voting in favour of opposing any plans from Cleveland Fire Authority to mutualise the brigade in an effort to raise money.
Speaking after the Borough Council meeting, Brian Gibson, the brigade chairman for Cleveland Fire Brigade Union, welcomed the decision.
He said: “I’m absolutely delighted to get the support of the council. The public service mutual will only lead to the privatisation of the fire service and the people don’t want that.”
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