Firefighters to strike in september, over working hours

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  • Firefighters to strike in september, over working hours
  • Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Thank you both, that’s interesting. So to continue the cynical/skulduggery theme – the gov introduces a policy that on the face of it has a sensible objective (fitness levels) but in reality is set at a level to deliver a hidden objective (reduce numbers). There are a limited number of alternative jobs within the service so alternatives have to be found which is not easy at that age or in the current climate. Ok, I get that bit I think. So the other side, how does any of this mean thatthe public will be put at risk as Matt Wrack seems to be claiming? He seems to be deliberately painting an image of an unfit, old person attempting to save people from a fire which seems to be quite a stretch of the imagination.?

    Peyote
    Member

    Factor in wages that are typically higher than private sector (on average), shorter working hours, more holiday, “flexi” time, more sickness absence (paramedics on 16 days sick a year at the last count), an absence of effective performance management so no-one ever gets fired for poor performance… and the cries of “we’re not valued” frankly ring a bit hollow when you compare this to fate of the many poor sods who are struggling though on low wages in the private sector, trying to bring up families on limited incomes and resigned to having to struggle through retirement in the knowledge that the biggest contribution to pension was the contribution they made as a tax payer to someone else of the same age who retired 15 years before them.

    Someones been selling the lie effectively. Don’t believe everything you read about the public sector/private sector perceived divide.

    on_the_rivet
    Member

    In a word -PRIVATISATION. The fire service is unappealing as a money making venture due to the large pension burden. If you get rid of, or significantly reduce that pension burden then you have a more attractive service for privatisation. For the public a privatised fire service would IMO mean a worse service with reduced levels of fire cover. Everyone’s insurance premiums would increase accordingly and if you are unlucky enough not to be able to afford insurance then you face a hefty bill from G4FS or similar. It may even take the fire service full circle to the days of insurance fire brigades where you had to prove that you were insured before they’d put your fire out.

    rogerthecat
    Member

    It may even take the fire service full circle to the days of insurance fire brigades where you had to prove that you were insured before they’d put your fire out.

    Increased business for Tattoo parlours as people make sure their policies are not in the burning house!!

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    More than that OTR, the current pension structure would be illegal for a private company!

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    robdixon – Member

    more sickness absence (paramedics on 16 days sick a year at the last count)

    Be pretty astonishing if it wasn’t high, wouldn’t it? Stressful, physical job that puts you in contact with ill people all the time, where illness will have a high impact on your ability to do the job- ticks all the boxes for elevated levels of sickness.

    Premier Icon sadexpunk
    Subscriber

    i do the fitness testing for our watch, so can explain the fitness level calculator for our brigade a bit better. we use the chester step method, and as has been correctly pointed out, the VO pass level is 42. it all seems a bit hit and miss. im 48 and can pass it easily as i keep myself fit. yet there have been lads in their twenties, who also exercise regularly that sail a little close to the wind, and would have no hope later in their lives.
    what also needs pointing out is that even if you maintain your current level of fitness, the calculator is such that it penalises you with each passing year. the software takes into account your age and the higher it is, the worse it makes your score. so in effect, you have to increase your fitness levels each year to ‘stand still’.

    i take on board about the matt wrack comments that who wants an unfit 60 year old trying to pull you out of a building. yes, as has been pointed out, that wouldnt happen, as that unfit 60 year old would have been sacked on capability grounds and not lasted long enough to still be in that position. so yeah, mebbes bit of rhetoric there. altho it doesnt seem fair that if you cant improve your fitness levels each year then youre sacked.
    and no, there arent any ‘office jobs’ left any more for moves within the service. firefighters will have nowhere to go to carry on working within the service. i would imagine at that age they may be pleased to have the option! 😀

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Thanks for the details guys – always an eye opener what you can learn here (STW) especially as the main news sites seem to struggle on this issue.

    nacho
    Member

    Have just read most of this, seems like some bitter people on here! If the firemen have been promised a contract shouldn’t that be adhered to? If they haven’t been promised then I guess the government would be within it’s rights to amend it.
    As for people saying this country is broke – load of crap, it’s just poorly distributed – although Vodaphone are redistributing £54 billion (sorry not sure how many 0’s that is) shame it’s only to shareholders. No tax being paid on that deal either although that is normal for Vodaphone. And there are many other large companies avoiding paying the taxes that would enable this country to get back on track financially, they just sem to pay government ministers or high ranking civil servants.
    Unfortunately with our current political system this won’t change until Joe Public cannot take any more inequality and either there is a massive political reform or we have a revolution.

    robdixon
    Member

    nacho – those “shareholders” are mostly the pension funds that hold the investments from people who are typically getting 3% employer contribution in the private sector. And you’ve missed the fact that returns to pension schemes started to be taxed under gordon brown – it’s the reason so many final salary schemes closed. Any any income paid out when pensions vest is subject to income tax. So that means Vodafone’s £54Bn will be taxed at least twice, possibly 3 times when you take into account that many pension funds declare operating profits which are taxed via corporation tax.

    nacho
    Member

    Robdixon – OK potentially a bad example but are you are telling me that you think big businesses pay their fair share of taxes?
    I’m not saying there is an easy solution, especially when you look at it on an international scale but goverments (all of them) have better solutions available to them than breaking promises to FF’s (and others)
    Sorry I do seem to be moving away from the OP’s original post, FWIW with my limited knowledge I support them IF the gov’t are reneging on previous promises made. The FF’s also have their own house to sort out, I have family in the force and know of the old “buddy” system where managers were promoted shortly before retirement purely to increase their pensions although I believe this has now been stopped.

    Pembo
    Member

    Unfortunately with our current political system this won’t change until Joe Public cannot take any more inequality and either there is a massive political reform or we have a revolution.

    Joe Public are so apathetic they can’t be arsed to stop shopping at Vodafone, Amazon, Starbucks et al, so I can’t see a revolution ever happening.

    5thElefant
    Member

    Robdixon – OK potentially a bad example but are you are telling me that you think big businesses pay their fair share of taxes?

    Companies don’t pay taxes. People pay taxes. If ‘companies’ paid more taxes what would really happen would be shareholders (pension funds for example) would get lower returns, prices for goods would go up and employees would be paid less.

    Premier Icon irc
    Subscriber

    Have just read most of this, seems like some bitter people on here! If the firemen have been promised a contract shouldn’t that be adhered to?

    But every other occupation that has had their pension age and contributions increased has also had a contract changed. Apart from the armed forces is every occupation not going to have a pension age of at least 60 after the current reforms. More like 68 for many. Parliament can pass laws to do anything it wants. Well anything that isn’t blocked by European law, but that’s another argument.

    I sympathise with the firefighters but I don’t see them beating the govt on this one.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Factor in wages that are typically higher than private sector (on average), shorter working hours, more holiday, “flexi” time, more sickness absence (paramedics on 16 days sick a year at the last count), an absence of effective performance management so no-one ever gets fired for poor performance… and the cries of “we’re not valued” frankly ring a bit hollow when you compare this to fate of the many poor sods who are struggling though on low wages in the private sector, trying to bring up families on limited incomes and resigned to having to struggle through retirement in the knowledge that the biggest contribution to pension was the contribution they made as a tax payer to someone else of the same age who retired 15 years before them.

    Really higher average wages? How much would a skilled manager get for looking after a department, 15 staff and the customers?

    Really not sacked for poor performance? Well I can recall staff being sacked for poor performance and others for poor sickness.

    the biggest contribution to pension was the contribution they made as a tax payer to someone else of the same age who retired 15 years before them.[

    Well that just proves you made it up.

    Premier Icon brassneck
    Subscriber

    I might be being thick, but how does a high VO2 Max help when you’re carrying someone out of a building wearing restrictive breathing apparatus?
    It seems like an irrelevant measure regardless of anything else, like performance measuring nuclear research scientists on how quickly they finish this week’s Puzzler.

    69er
    Member

    Yes you are. BA isn’t in any way ‘restrictive’

    VO2 is a measure of your ability to work aerobically. Lifting, moving, that sort of thing. It also benefits certain performance athletes 😉

    julianwilson
    Member

    gusamc, from your link:

    The compositions of the public and private sectors are different. Consequently differences in gross weekly earnings do not reveal differences in rates of pay for comparable jobs. For example, many of the lowest paid occupations, such as bar and restaurant staff, hairdressers, elementary sales occupations and cashiers, exist primarily in the private sector, while there are a larger proportion of graduate-level and professional occupations in the public sector.

    What point were you trying to make with that link?

    In fact I gave an example of this back on page 4. (NHS hospitals subbing out portering, cleaning and catering jobs to ISS et al and in a stroke increasing the average wage of their employees without actually paying them a penny more).

    Premier Icon Flaperon
    Subscriber

    The VO2max test is perhaps the stupidest way of engineering people needlessly out of their jobs that I’ve ever known.

    VO2max is largely influenced by genetic factors and takes significant training to achieve even marginal increases in some people. Why not redefine the test to be along the lines of “carry this dummy down a flight of stairs” and have a simple pass fail.

    New admiration for those in the fire service, had no idea your fitness test was so punitive.

    Premier Icon irc
    Subscriber

    The VO2 is a proposed new (and stupid) test. Not the current test. Google suggests a more reasonable test is in use currently. Involves ladder climb, dragging a 55kg casualty, equipment assembly and carry, etc.

    Physical Tests

    niksnr
    Member

    Brassneck, not that thick at all really as the plan is to test this on a treadmill. Personally I can’t run for toffee and get breathless relatively quickly. However put me in a boxing ring, ask me to do circuits or quick loops on a mountain bike and I can do this a lot easier. VO2 max is the volume of oxygen taken up in the blood in parts per million over a given effort level. Should it not be tested after a BA hot wear in a sterile environment? This would seem more relevant, especially if it is going to determine whether a firefighter ultimately loses his/her job!

    Has anyone mentioned the fact the the new scheme the government are proposing in 2015 (that they are demanding we sign up to now or it will be retracted) has no defined contributions? So they can’t even tell you how much you will be paying? I certainly wouldn’t sign up for a loan or mortgage in this way and am damn well not gonna do this with my pension!! What’s stopping them coming back in 5-10 years time for another bite?

    Premier Icon sadexpunk
    Subscriber

    irc, they’re the physical tests to pass your initial application process. we don’t have to do that again once we’re in.

    I became a retained FF last year. We now go through pretty much the same selection process as wholetime under national standards. As above, the test linked above is the practical assessment undertaken as part of the selection process.

    You then need to pass a physical assessment which includes a treadmill, shuttle run or Chester Step Test to assess V02 max – these are also the methods for ongoing physical assessment in most brigades. As a few other people have mentioned, none of these are entirely infallible. I came within a whisker of failing the Chester Step Test despite being pretty fit due to relatively high heart rate at the start of the test – the doc put this down to “white coat syndrome” and signed me off on it as everything else was fine.

    As a retained FF at a pretty quiet rural station I’m called out 6-8 times a month – a lot of minor calls but others will be more involved. A hot BA wear or big RTC job can be very intense and draining… a wholetime crew at a busy station could easily be dealing with the same number of shouts and more in a single shift and have my utmost respect for doing so. I love the job but its certainly not something I plan doing into my 60s…

    Premier Icon totalshell
    Subscriber

    as a member of the public i have a couple of general perceptions of what a member of the fire and rescue service might be able to achieve..

    climb a ladder, carry a load, pull open a buckled car door, be able t do some first aid, drive a big red truck, and know where the fire hydryants are…

    if you cant do that beacuse you weigh 20 stone or your taxi stops you getting enough excercise then i dont ecpect you to get your pension early as though you had some medical condition that prevents any work.

    Hopk1ns
    Member

    General perceptions…. And that’s the fire services general failure, they don’t market what they do very well

    Probably because some of what they do and see us so horrendous you will never know or be able to comprehend it.

    To be honest I think that 30 year’s of attending incidents where children have squashed or fattened to a pulp, picking up body parts strewn along a road, entering buildings and pulling out bodies, attending accidents in work places where they have to extract body parts from machinery. 30 years is enough, many go on to get Jo s anyway so still contribute to the economy. Just retire from the fire job

    brack
    Member

    General perceptions…. And that’s the fire services general failure, they don’t market what they do very well

    You gotta be kidding

    The FS …PR machine is second to none !!

    Oh and all those traumatic jobs you attend…you ain’t there on your own fella !

    You do deserve your pension and to be paid well but stop with the claptrap !

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Thanks for the link but julianwilson has answered the fault with it. You need to post comparative wages.

    Oh and all those traumatic jobs you attend…you ain’t there on your own fella !

    An Ambulance transported them to hospital.

    gusamc
    Member

    what area of the country do you want me to post a comparison for – can I suggest that we use a low cost one ?

    Compare say a paramedic in the public sector with one in the private sector.

    Or a Consultant Neurologist.

    Or a Child Protection Social Worker.

    Comparisons have to be like for like to be useful which is why the ONS produced the pdf below to explain the difference in the link you posted.

    here

    Premier Icon bruneep
    Subscriber

    Compare say a paramedic in the public sector with one in the private sector.

    Offshore Medic
    Industry: Nursing and Auxiliary Work

    Summary: Offshore medics work on fixed or mobile oil rigs and support vessels. They look after the health, safety and welfare of the crew. They often have other duties related to administration or health and safety at work.

    Average salary: The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on: where you work the size of the company or organisation you work for the demand for the job.A typical starting salary can be £25,000 to £30,000, rising to between £38,000 and 40,000 with experience. Salary includes allowance for working offshore plus a bonus scheme and pension. Recent vacancies for temporary contracts have ranged between £250 and £350 per day.

    Our paramedics are Band 5 so £21,176-£27,625 as a comparison.

    Premier Icon bruneep
    Subscriber

    A FF Trainee Firefighter starts at £21,583 – a fully competent Ff £28,766. Such as much.

    No shift allowances are paid for working weekend/nights.

    gusamc
    Member

    imho to do a fair compare you need:
    – area (as private sector salaries vary considerably)
    – FULL package details (hours, pension, perks, otime + rates, weekly hours worked, holiday, flexitime, etc etc etc etc etc)
    * don’t compare employee, with self employed etc etc

    http://targetjobs.co.uk/career-sectors/management-and-business/317041-public-sector-security-or-private-sector-salary-which-should-you-opt-for-when-

    can you tell me which are private vs public here
    http://www.reed.co.uk/jobs/paramedic

    Compare say a paramedic in the public sector with one in the private sector.
    Or a Consultant Neurologist.
    Or a Child Protection Social Worker.
    Comparisons have to be like for like to be useful which is why the ONS produced the pdf below to explain the difference in the link you posted.

    its often said that private sector teachers get paid less than state, anyone got any evidence for this?

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Yeah the lack shift allowance is what made a big difference. Agenda for change was a good thing for Ambulance staff it boosted our wages right up, before Agenda for change a Paramedic wage was £21k per year.

    brack
    Member

    Bruneep

    A double Couple of questions the fully qualified FFs

    Are they graduates ?

    Registered with an external governing body ?

    Do they work autonomously ? ie lone working ?

    Premier Icon bruneep
    Subscriber

    Bruneep

    Couple of questions the fully qualified FFs

    Are they graduates ?

    Registered with an external governing body ?

    Do they work autonomously ? ie lone working ?

    That’s 4 🙄

    Premier Icon althepal
    Subscriber

    So the private sector wins- yaaay! Before you talk about pensions the offshorr guys can sometimes claim tax back, get bonuses and other financial incentives that more than make up for not having a “gold plated” pension.
    Agree with the PR comments though. The fireys are always very keen to get pts details from us. Have been at jobs where someone walks out to the ambulance without any help and the next day the story in the paper was that they pulled someone out and gave first aid prior to the ambulance arrived.
    Dont get me wrong, I wish the ambulance service/s were as proactive but they just aren’t very good at promoting themselves..

    brack
    Member

    There fixed it 😆

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