STAFF working for the fire service in Berkshire will see their redundancy pay cut by 25 per cent.

The redundancy pay for staff, who can join the Local Government Pension Scheme, is currently twice the legal minimum. This will drop to 1.5 times the legal minimum, with effect from June 9.

Cllr Colin Dudley, chair of the fire authority, said: “While this is a reduction in the redundancy, it’s still 1.5 times the standard that people get these days.

“I think even if we do have to make redundancies, they will be well looked after.”

Uniformed firefighters, who can join the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme, will not be affected, as their redundancy pay is already the statutory minimum.

Staff who were consulted on the cut were concerned about the high cost of living in Berkshire, and difficulty for older people in finding other jobs.

One member of staff said: “For those who have been loyal to the service, to be made redundant is one thing but to also walk away with a severance package that is 25 per cent less, really is a kick in the teeth and not a great reflection on the service they have committed years of employment to.”

The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) wants to bring the redundancy pay in line with councils in Berkshire.

Reading pays two times the minimum, Bracknell pays 1.75, West Berkshire and Slough pay 1.5, while Wokingham and Windsor pay the statutory minimum.

Cllr Paul Gittings said: “While I understand the reasoning for the change, I think we should have been proud to stay at the top of the table. I think it’s disappointing that we are slipping to the bottom. I feel we should keep the multiplier at two.”  

Several staff members voiced concerns that the cut meant the service planned to cut lots of jobs in the near future.

However, Cllr Dudley said: “There are no large scale redundancies planned in RBFRS.”

Councillors on the fire authority decided on Monday to cut the redundancy pay by seven votes for and two votes against.