The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has written to the political leader of Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service demanding a local payment to firefighters be increased to what the Union calls 'the recommended level'. The FBU says that the payment, called 'Continual Professional Development (CPD)' should be set at a minimum level of £500 but Gloucestershire has only been paying £366, leaving local firefighters substantially our of pocket compared to collegues elsewhere.
The CPD scheme was first set up in 2006 and is paid to all firefighters who have shown that they are developing within the fire and rescue service.
The complicated formula used to set up the payment resulted in different rates being set across different fire services, but to combat this discrepency, a minimum level of £500 per year was recommended by the national pay body who introduced it. Despite the minimum level being in place for over 11 years, Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service still only pay their staff £366 - well below the recommended minimum £500.
The FBU is demanding that this situation be changed and has written an angry letter to Gloucestershire County Councillor Nigel Moor, who has responsibility for the County's firefighters. In the letter, from senior FBU official Tam McFarlane, the Union highlights the detrimental impact that years of pay freezes and pay caps has had on firefighters and demands 'a no strings attached increase of this payment to the minimum recommended level of £500'.
Tam McFarlane said "Raising the CPD payment to the recommended minimum level of £500 is a local decision and, against a background of national pay freezes & pay caps, it is a way that FRS’s can show their staff that they properly value them. It is shameful that eleven years after a minimum level of payment was set, Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service is still refusing to pay staff the minimum rate. They are now the only Fire and Rescue Service in the South West to set this payment at a rate below the recommended level and they must address this matter and correct it as a matter of urgency. It's now time that this local employer steps up to the plate and gives the firefighters under their control the money that they're due."
In response, Gloucestershire Councillor Nigel Moor has told the Chief Fire Officer to present an 'options paper' for consideration. Councillor Moor said "I fully recognise that the stafff of GFRS perform highly in supporting the safety of the communities of Gloucestershire and that they contribute greatly to the wider health and wellbeing agenda of the County Council. Be assured I will give the options appraisal all due consideration once I receive it."
See the full response from Councillor Moor here: Glos response re CPD.pdf