Retained Firefighters across the country are expected to give two weeks’ notice this week of a planned nationwide strike.
Talks to agree measures to improve the terms and conditions for retained Firefighters have been ongoing for several months between representatives from the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) and national negotiators acting for retained firefighters.
All twelve of Tipperary’s fire stations are staffed by Retained Firefighters unlike larger urban centres with full time personnel.
Retained Firefighters are paid an annual retainer to be available for call-outs, but their pay depends on the number of incidents they attend.
Retained firefighters have to undergo significant training and commit to working within 2.5km of their fire station.
Retained firefighters must also live within that same distance from the fire station they are attached to in order to respond “within five minutes” of being paged to report to work.
The NRFA says it costs €50,000 to train a firefighter but over 100 per year are leaving due to the existing terms and conditions.
In a survey of members around 60pc of firefighters say they plan to quit the service within the next 18 months – the current annual pay is approximately €20,000 – €25,000.
Tipperary Town station can only send out one unit at present due to staffing shortages – this is supplemented by other stations where necessary which could cause delays in response times.
In the case of staff shortages, the approach taken dealing with fires may be changed if there are not adequate personnel on hand to tackle the fire.
Other personnel have reported difficulty in requesting days off as there are not enough personnel to cover the roster.
Tipperary County Council manages the service locally but is not directly involved in the negotiations.
The council is currently seeking to recruit retained firefighters for all 12 fires stations. The locations currently seeking to recruit Retained Firefighters in Tipperary are;
Borrisokane, Cahir, Carrick-on-Suir, Cashel, Clonmel, Cloughjordan, Nenagh, Newport, Roscrea, Templemore, Thurles, Tipperary Town.