FIRE chiefs are to shed 150 jobs in West Yorkshire.
The cuts will hit firefighters and back-office staff, but brigade bosses insist the ability to tackle emergencies will not be affected.
The jobs are expected to go through retirements and voluntary redundancies, to meet budget cutbacks.
But there was also a warning that deeper cuts will have to come over the next two or three years, with Government funding being withdrawn.
The slimdown, which includes both frontline and ‘back office’ staff, will help balance the books in 2011/12 as the fire authority struggles to cover a £5.3m. loss in central government grant.
Job losses are mainly in areas where either workload has reduced or where services can be delivered more flexibly.
The savings are expected to be about £3m in the next 12 months.
The brigade currently has 2,061 employees, some of them part-tine. The total includes 1,437 firefighters and 171 retained firefighters.
Clr Chris Townsley, who chairs the fire authority’s Personnel and Training Committee, explained that longer term savings had also been identified from the budget for fire officers working the flexible duty system, under which they provide supervisory operational cover outside normal working hours.
These savings would be made by officers volunteering to provide extra cover for operational incidents and pre-planned events.
Some 15 posts could then be removed from the establishment by natural wastage, freeing-up almost £800,000 over the following three years.