MORE than 80 jobs are to be axed by fire chiefs in West Yorkshire.
They will go among support staff spread across the region in a bid to save millions of pounds.
Fire chiefs have stressed that firefighter posts are not affected but admitted more jobs could go in the future.
The review of support staff is set to deliver £2.5m a year in savings for West Yorkshire’s hard-pressed fire budget.
Fifty members of staff, from trainers to technicians, have been granted voluntary severance or early retirement and will leave in October.
Those people without a job in the new structure and who cannot be redeployed will face compulsory redundancy next March taking the total reduction to 83.
Added to the numbers of support staff who left in an earlier re-structure, the total number of non-operational posts lost since 2010 will be over 100, a third of the support staff workforce.
Unions have been informed throughout the process.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Martyn Redfearn explained that the authority was struggling with many unpalatable decisions following on from reductions in central government grant.
He said that the re-structure of support staffing was intended to concentrate resources on core emergency services.
“We shall be slimmer and more efficient as a result of these latest changes with more work moved onto the operational staff and focusing on the most important areas.
“Our ambition ‘Making West Yorkshire Safer’ and challenging safety targets that we have set for 2015 remain, so we will continue to provide the very best front-line service possible by making difficult choices.”
Mr Redfearn stressed that with the potential loss of a further £12m in central funding between now and 2014/5 he could not rule out more support job losses.
The authority agreed a £4m fire cover rationalisation package in February. Work has already begun to establish if further savings can be found without jeopardising public or firefighter safety.