Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Who will put out the fires...

Today I am going to Norfolk to meet firefighters - and find out from them how the EU rules on working time could put lives at risk especially in rural areas. I wrote about the impact on doctors a few weeks ago.

I've already spoken to firefighters in Cambridgeshire who have told me about the deep uncertainty in their profession caused by the debates raging in Brussels.

If the European Parliament does succeed in forcing the UK to comply with the 48 hour week and, as is being suggested, they include "on call" hours in the time limit then we will have a serious shortage of firefighters. The retained firefighters who do other jobs during the day but fill the rota in the evenings and weekends will be forced to give up one or the other. Either we will have a worse fire service or the tax payer will have to pay more... and which of us can afford that?

Labour MEPs voted for this suggestion. Conservatives did not. More later ....

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Emergency workers are going to be exempt. We know that, it mentioned within a letter from the Labour MEP in the local paper the day before your letter in the CEN. Its not often I agree with a Labour Politician.

Even if it does come in without such an exemption, the simple answer is employ more firefighters to cover the shortfall.

Oh wait a second, your party doesnt like employing public sector workers...

Anonymous said...

it mentioned within a letter from the Labour MEP in the local paper the day before your letter in the CEN

I'm glad you have such faith in labour MEPs. What is an emergency worker? Doctors policemen and nurses are certainly not exempt-what gives you the idea that firemen and lifeboatmen will be?

Vicky Ford said...

Dear Anon at 20.12

I wish it was as simple as you assume.

Vicky

Anonymous said...

IN reply to the other anonymous, that may well be the case, I had a look at the european parliament website and did find it difficult to identify anything that might lead to this interpretation. Whether this is hidden away buried or not, I have absolutely no idea.

As for faith in Labour MEPs, wish it was that simple. I dont.

I dont think Labour knows what they want to do in Europe.

Then again, I have no faith in Tory MEPs. They will shortly be leaving the EPP faction of the Parliament. IN order to gain influence, the tories will have to work with a certain number of MEPS from a certain number of countries. As all the sensible right wing parties are currently in the EPP, I shudder to think who the tories might align themselves with.

Anonymous said...

the simple answer is employ more firefighters to cover the shortfall.

Oh wait a second, your party doesnt like employing public sector workers...
I should bloody well hope not-haven't you been reading the papers.We need to reduce the number of public sector workers (especially those allowed to retire at 50 or 55 with a full final salary pension),not just employ more to comply with useless and irrelevant European legislation

jessy said...

Emergency workers are going to be exempt. We know that, it mentioned within a letter from the Labour MEP in the local paper the day before your letter in the CEN. Its not often I agree with a Labour Politician...nice work....