Firefighters sever ties with Fire and Rescue Services

The move comes after Public Security Minister submits plans to reform the way firefighters work and are organized.

February 7, 2012 03:55
1 minute read.
Firefighters try to put out flames in the Carmel.

fire fighters_311. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Firefighters have severed ties with the national Fire and Rescue Services in response to what they described as a “trampling” on their rights by the Public Security Ministry on Monday.

The Israeli Professional Firefighters Organization (IPFO) removed personnel from the Services’ Rishon Lezion headquarters as part of the protest.

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The move came after Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch submitted plans to the government to reform the way firefighters work and are organized.

But the IPFO said the minister’s plans “don’t solve operational problems, [which is why] the Service is today it was on the eve of the [2010] Carmel fire disaster.”

The firefighters are demanding that Aharonovitch withdraw his proposals and rewrite plans with their input.

An IPFO spokesman accused the minister of “fooling us,” adding that Aharonovitch had promised to consult them before making changes, but went ahead and filed proposals without doing so.

Responding to the attack, the public security minister said the move by firefighters was “severe,” adding that it would have “immediate operational consequences.”

“The isn’t the first time that the firefighters’ organization is taking one-sided steps during negotiations, hurting the public first, firefighters second... and a process which is aimed at setting up a national firefighting agency,” the ministry said in a statement.

The statement added that Aharonovitch’s proposals were in line with past reports by the state comptroller, which highlighted serious shortcomings in Israeli firefighting resources and called for several immediate changes.

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