Friday, October 29, 2010

Firemen live abroad but collect huge London bonus..

Living abroad, the firemen paid a £5,000 bonus to live in London

Last updated at 7:21 AM on 29th October 2010
In dispute: Many firemen plotting to strike on bonfire night claim a £5,000 bonus for living London when they actually live abroad
In dispute: Many firemen plotting to strike on bonfire night claim a £5,000 bonus for living London when they actually live abroad
Firemen plotting the Bonfire Night strike are claiming £5,000 annual bonuses for living in London when they are actually living abroad.
Leaked documents show that more than 2,700 firemen live outside the capital, one as far afield as Spain. 
Eight London firemen are based overseas, including one who is understood to live in the holiday hotspot of Majorca and another in Denmark.
Another six live in the Republic of Ireland, three in Northern Ireland, two in Scotland and 26 in Wales.
Fifty firemen commute to London from Portsmouth, another 37 from Bournemouth and 11 from Exeter.
Others live in Newcastle, Truro, Sheffield, Doncaster, Teesside, Sunderland and Darlington - hundreds of miles from London.
Yet all of them claim the same £5,021 London weighting allowance, taking their average wages to £33,000 a year - a sum that can increase to between £40,000 and £50,000 with overtime.
The allowance is supposed to compensate the firemen for the high costs of living in London, but nearly half of them are using the money to enjoy more luxurious lifestyles in cheaper parts of the country.
Most of the firemen who do not live in London have homes in South-East England’s commuter belt and face travelling up to six hours each day to get to and from their fire stations.
But others live far beyond the normal range of commuting. Firemen work two days and two nights before getting four days off, giving them plenty of time to commute the length and breadth of Britain, boosting their incomes with a second job.
Fire Brigade sources say that absent staff share bedsit rooms in London to minimise their costs and then take four days off in their real homes.
The damning details explain why firemen are planning to strike on Bonfire Night in order to avoid changes to their rotas.
In total 3,101 firemen live in London but 2,743 live elsewhere.
A Fire Brigade source told the Mail: ‘We keep hearing from Fire Brigades Union officials that changing shift patterns will disrupt their family life. 
‘But what they don’t let on is that many of them are conducting family lives in Manchester and Liverpool and Newcastle. There is at least one London firefighter living in Spain. No wonder they don’t want any change to their working hours.’
Another insider said: ‘These guys share rooms and pay a tenner each to save money and then go home for half the week.’

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