The new leader of Britain’s firefighters has called on the government to “change direction” in its handling of the fire service.
Matt Wrack, who defeated Andy Gilchrist last week for the job of general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, also warned that industrial action could not be ruled out because of growing anger about pensions and jobs.
Calls for industrial action are expected to be made during the union’s annual conference in Southport, starting today.
Wrack said it was time to have “serious discussions” with the government about its controversial plans to merge fire control centres.
The union warned that up to 900 jobs could be axed because of moves to reduce the number of control centres from 46 to nine in England and from eight to three in Scotland.
“It will lead to a poorer service as well as costing well over £1bn.
“The new minister for the fire service should bin this idea at the earliest opportunity.
“We will be considering a number of options this week and will start by developing a political campaign but we will consider industrial action if necessary.”
Wrack said he will seek an early meeting with the government and will tell ministers that they should start listening to firefighters.