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Fire crews next to strike

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
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Fire crews next to strike

FIREFIGHTERS are the next public service workers preparing for potential strike action in Dumfries and Galloway.

A second ballot of Scottish Fire and Rescue staff began this week and will run until January 23, with the first strike likely to take place on February 6 or 7.

Andrew Kenna, a local senior officer from the Dumfries and Galloway fire service attended the council’s police, fire and rescue sub committee last week to discuss expected severe budget cuts from the Scottish Government and the consequences locally.

He said: “The spending review announced in May indicated that we will be allocated a flash cash funding allocation for the next four years.

“Once the impact of inflation is included, this would represent a reduction in real terms.

“Whilst we are currently unable to put an exact figure on the savings required, our modelling indicates that this may be in the order of between £29m and £43m by the end of the four-year period.

“Next year, our modelling indicates we would have to save between £12m and £18m if we received a flat cash settlement.

“We are awaiting the outcome of a budget announcement expected on December 15 by the Scottish Government, which will confirm our budget for 2023/24.

“We are currently exploring all potential opportunities to reduce costs and deliver our services more efficiently.

“We would be unable to make the level of savings indicated by the resource spending review without impacting on our current service delivery model.”

Unless a positive announcement is made by Scottish ministers on December 15, firefighters could follow teachers and health workers in going down the strike action route.

A consultation with staff and partner service would be undertaken ahead of any decisions being taken by the fire service.

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