From: Stephens, Dan

Sent: 20 January 2015 07:52

To: All MFRS

Subject: Wholetime retained working in conjunction with 24 hour shifts - expressions of interest



To advise all operational personnel of the positive progress that has been made between the Authority, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and the Fire Officers Association (FOA) over the possible adoption of 24-hour working arrangements at up to 8 station locations subject to the introduction of  Wholetime Retained contracts to support appliance availability at merged stations.


All operational personnel.



Following recent positive dialogue at Joint Secretaries the Authority, the FBU and FOA have been able to agree a framework that will provide for the introduction of 24-hour working at up to 8 station locations subject to take up by staff of sufficient Wholetime Retained Contacts (WTR) to crew 4 X WTR appliances at merged station locations.


This agreement has been endorsed by the FBU Brigade Committee and mirrors collective agreements in place with FOA. The Joint Secretaries will now work to deal with all implementation issues arising out of the agreement. The terms of agreement are set out below.




Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority (MFRA) and Merseyside Fire Brigades Union (FBU) recognise that due to the severity of the cuts to the Fire and Rescue Service on Merseyside these are incredibly difficult times for MFRA and the FBU.


However, both parties are in full agreement that the Wholetime (WT) staffing model is still the preferred operational response option and that as MFRA adjusts to accommodate a budget reduction of over 27m the safety of the public and firefighters is quite rightly our priority.


In an attempt to maintain the most effective levels of fire cover possible, whilst coping with a massively reduced budget, MFRA and the FBU have formulated a proposal for FBU members to consider. It is the belief of both parties that this proposal (if accepted) will maintain the best levels of WT response possible, within the budget constraints, and also provides a shift pattern that a number of FBU members have requested.


  Until 1st April 2015 the Service will endeavour to sustain 28 WT pumps (including 4 LLAR) through the utilisation of WTR contracts to facilitate wholetime availability. The budget cuts applied as of 1st April 2015 reduces the number of WT pumps to 24. It is the intention of MFRA to maintain the 4 appliances previously crewed Wholetime on a WT retained basis

  MFRA will endeavour to avoid Firefighter compulsory redundancies through the use of reserves

  Currently on any given shift there are up to 6 WT pumps off the run due to factors affecting operational staffing

  To maintain 4 appliances on a WT basis until 1st April 2015 would require 96 Firefighters/Watch Managers on a 42 hours per week (48/8) retained contract (10% retaining fee) to maintain full availability.

  In order to achieve the highest uptake possible and to reduce the amount of retained availability required from personnel MF&RA will offer a 5% retaining fee for 21 hours cover per week (24/8). This would require 192 contracts distributed evenly amongst the 4 watches (48 per watch with a pre-determined number of drivers and Watch Managers)

  In practice this would require a contract holder to provide 24 hours retained cover in every 8 day period. As MFRA would commit to seek to maintain 28 WT appliances until 1st April 2015 there is a very high likelihood that each individual would be called in to complete 24 hours on station in every 8 day period, for which they would be paid the hourly rate in addition to the retaining fee.

  Beyond 1st April 2015 contract holders would still be required to provide 24 hours cover but would be much less likely to be utilised. The WT retained contracts post 1st April 2015 would be primarily used to provide retained availability at the 3 merged stations and at Old Swan community fire station subject to the outcomes of public consultation on the Allerton closure proposal

  Dependent on the uptake of WTR contracts to provide retained capability MFRA will convert up to 8 Community Fire Stations to 24 hour working.  Those stations to be determined at the agreement of MFRA and the Representative bodies.

  The amount of 24 hour working locations (up to a maximum of 8) will be completely dependent on the required number of WTR contracts being maintained to achieve the 4 WT retained appliances. If insufficient numbers are attained, or employees give notice of termination of their wholetime Retained Contract and they are not replaced by another volunteer who will undertake a WT retained contract , then 24 hour working at a specific location will be withdrawn

  Where personnel wish to undertake a retained contract but remain on the 12/12 duty system then this will be considered subject to there being sufficient expressions of interest to maintain wholetime retained appliance(s) availability

  These proposals are intended to maintain appliance availability and to attain 5 riders on every rescue appliance

  The local Joint Secretaries will monitor total WTR hours utilised to identify any excessive hours being worked. Data will be provided to the FBU in respect of this. Progress will be reviewed at 1st April 2015 and periodically thereafter as mutually agreed


The FBU and MFRA agree that if the financial position improves then all efforts will be jointly undertaken to return frontline emergency operational appliances that have been lost due to the cuts back to wholetime operational availability.


This collective agreement is advanced to best protect Merseyside firefighters and community members alike and as such will be regularly monitored and reviewed.




TRM will now seek expressions of interest from staff interested in taking up Wholetime Retained contracts in conjunction with 24 or 12 hour shifts.

Expressions of interest should be directed to the e-mail address and should specify a preference of 12 or 24 hour shifts.

The time frame for expressions of interest will be 21 days commencing today 20th January and concluding 11th February. Thereafter, and subject to sufficient expressions of interest being received, the local Joint Secretaries will meet to agree a time frame and process for implementation.



Nick Mernock ( Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority


Mark Rowe ( FBU


Chris Case ( FOA





Dan Stephens,

Chief Fire Officer,

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service,

Bridle Road,



L30 4YD


0151 296 4102