Firefighters suspended over professional conflict

Swindon Advertiser: . .

A PAIR of firefighters have been suspended after animosity between them allegedly impacted on their work and ability to lead their team at Drove Road station.

Retained watch manager Chris Studley and retained crew manager John Bolton were relieved from duty in September after they each lodged complaints against the other. Their allegations are being investigated.

Depending on the outcome of the case the on-call firefighters could face anything from dismissal to a written warning, according to the Fire Brigades Union.

FBU secretary Brent Thornley confirmed the claims made by both men were being investigated by Wiltshire Fire & Rescue and the union.

He said: “They have both complained about each other. It’s a professional conflict. We have taken the step to avoid further conflict while we wait for the result of the investigation. We will then know how we are going to deal with both of them.

“It’s quite a sensitive issue. They work together but the relationship has become very strained which affected the rest of the retained crew. We thought it was the best decision to remove them from Drove Road station. There is long history behind it and needs to be sorted.

“There is the potential for one of them to be dismissed or they could get a written warning or anything in between.”

Unlike their full-time colleagues, retained firefighters only attend the fire station when they receive an emergency callout.

In similar types of conflict between full-time firefighters, one party can be transferred to another station. Yet, moving one of them would not be an option as neither would be able to report to another station further away in the required five minutes.

The union said it would be supportive of each of them until such time, if at all, as one of them was found guilty of misconduct.

“As a union we represent both individuals and if we believe they are 100 per cent guilty we will withdraw our support. The union investigation will conclude next week.”

A fire service spokesman said: “While we cannot confirm why they were suspended, we can say that it was not for fighting. The disciplinary process is on-going and it would therefore be inappropriate for us to make any further comment.”

John Bolton declined to make a comment.

The Adver was unable to contact Chris Studley.

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