SIPTU members in the full-time fire service are to ballot for industrial in a dispute resulting from an attempt by the Department of Environment to reduce the crew numbers on fire appliances. SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O’Brien, said: “At a meeting today (Thursday, 19th March) of the SIPTU National Full-time Firefighter Committee it was decided to conduct a national ballot for industrial action of full-time firefighters.“This decision was made following a recent meeting with the Local Government Management Agency at which both the SIPTU Full-time and Retained Fire Committees reiterated their concerns in regard to the Department of the Environment attempt to reduce fire appliance crewing levels. Concerns were also expressed in relation to the Department’s failure to furnish the relevant risk assessments and support documentation for its plans.”He added: “We are extremely concerned at the Department’s continued attempts to reduce fire crewing levels, which if implemented could jeopardise the safety of both firefighters and the public. Our members are committed to taking whatever steps are required to protect fire crews and the public who rely on this critical emergency service.“The decision to ballot SIPTU full-time firefighters has been taken in advance of the outcome of a ballot for industrial action being undertaken by our colleagues in the retained fire services who also oppose these dangerous cuts.”