Cornwall news Firefighter quits with scathing attack over colleagues' sacking UK news
PremierLeague-News.Com - Cornwall - Five firefighters were sacked and now one more has quit
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! A firefighter has resigned over the sacking of five of his colleagues. In a scathing five-page resignation letter to chief fire officer Kathryn Billing at Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) and to Cornwall Council, Lostwithiel firefighter Jack Saundry said his colleagues were sacked by the fire services over what he claims are "false allegations that led to the public being put at risk". The committed firefighter, who dealt with some of the station’s biggest incidents including the Ethy woodland fire in 2018, the Castle Manor fire in 2019 and the Royal Oak pub fire in 2021, said that as a result of the investigations and various accusations flying around against his colleagues and what he claims led to their "needless suspension" and eventual sacking, he could no longer in good conscience continue in the job. The five firefighters lost their jobs following an 18-month investigation over allegations of misconduct involving another colleague and his now ex-partner and some messages shared on a private WhatsApp group which Cornwall Council - of which the fire service is a part - deemed offensive in nature for any of its employees to do even though it was done on a private message board on the encrypted smartphone app. Read more: Dozens of Devon and Cornwall Police officers dismissed in the past five years While the nature of the messages they exchanged has not never been made public, it was deemed bad enough for one member of the crew to take offence and make an official complaint for harassment and bullying against his five colleagues. After they were all suspended, three sackings were confirmed in mid-June and the other two at the end of June - all following failed appeals. In his letter, also sent to local councillors and local MP Sheryll Murray and Cornwall Live, Mr Saundry claimed that the accusations in question, which relate to an incident dating back to November 2020, were "false" and came from a "disgruntled employee". Get the best stories about the things you love most curated by us and delivered to your inbox every day. Choose what you love here Mr Saundry said: “It is with an extremely heavy heart I feel I have been left with no other choice by CFRS than to end my employment. To do this while our station is still recovering from the devastation and grief inflicted upon it by CFRS and Cornwall Council is a serious decision not taken lightly. "However in the past weeks and months, the irony and hypocrisy from CFRS and Cornwall Council, institutions which claim to care about their people and communities, has become too much to bear leaving my position untenable.” Earlier his month, Ms Billing slammed the five Lostwithiel firefighters sacked in June for inappropriate behaviour as unprofessional, saying such behaviour is not something that will ever be tolerated. The Cornwall councillor in charge of the fire service also backed up the dismissals. The original suspension of the five firefighters left Lostwithiel station with inadequate cover which had to be made up for with crews from other stations, which Mr Saundry claims was “often, non-existent, ineffective, or just plain right farcical, with crews from every corner of Cornwall often being acquainted for the first time in the early hours of the morning, while rushing, trying to turn out, with zero understanding of local knowledge, topography, or station layout, resulting in many delays, little or no cover, and the destruction of two appliance bay doors”. Read More Related Articles Lostwithiel Firefighters sacked over 'inappropriate' WhatsApp messages Read More Related Articles Cornwall fire chief slams Lostwithiel firefighters who were sacked Mr Saundry added: “To try and add fuel to his argument this staff member provided a transcript of a private group chat between work colleagues.
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. “Five employees with a combined 50 years of experience were immediately suspended needlessly as they posed no heightened risk to staff or the public, amidst the clutches of a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic, putting immense pressure on the remaining five crew and leaving the area with dangerously low levels of cover.” Back in November 2020, fears were raised that the town might not have adequate fire brigade cover following the five firefighters’ suspension. Cornwall Council denied lives were put at risk in any way saying that staff had been drafted in from other areas and cover had remained adequate throughout. In his letter, which we are not able to use in full for legal reasons, Mr Saundry accused the fire service and council of what he claimed was “an unfounded, unknown, and legally shaky, precedent on what does and/or doesn’t constitute an employee’s personal life”. He said: “I have pleaded for common sense, reformation, and redemption for firefighters caught out by an outdated, ambiguous, legal privacy loophole, no one wants to tackle, and no one understands.”
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Related Articles Barn damaged in fire after controlled burn gets out of control Cornwall Council said it would not comment on Mr Saundry’s letter, saying it had nothing further to add to the statement it issued in June, which confirmed that CFRS had now completed its disciplinary process following reports of inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour by five firefighters. The authority insisted a detailed investigation was carried out in line with the fire service’s HR policies. It found that the officers’ behaviour fell far below the standards expected from staff. Based on these findings, the firefighters were summarily dismissed from the service in the summer of 2021, a decision which has since been upheld following several appeals and a tribunal hearing. A spokesman for Cornwall Council said at the time: “Following the ongoing investigation at Lostwithiel, an independent appeal hearing held over two days earlier this year against the service for unfair dismissal was dismissed. The service currently has two further cases listed for substantive hearings later in the year, arising out of the same incident and therefore it is not appropriate to comment further at this time.” Ms Billing said at the time: “Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service is honoured to enjoy the respect of our public, and I am determined to ensure that we never do anything to jeopardise that hard-earned and privileged position. “I do not take the use of such sanctions lightly, but the standards shown in this case were so far below those we expect, there was no choice but to take this action. Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service cannot and will not condone inappropriate behaviour and will always take reports of these incidents seriously.” READ NEXT: Audi driver stopped for 'anti-social driving' right in front of police car in Falmouth Woman taken to hospital after car overturns in serious crash Farmer removes crops after legal threat over footpath Descendant of Penhale Camp owners demands it is returned so it doesn't become holiday park Love letter to Cornwall and why it's so amazing to live here - opinion
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