Fire chief’s big bonus sparks union protest

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The firefighters’ union has blasted the decision to pay a hefty bonus to chief fire officer - because he helped SAVE money.

Jason Thelwell will be awarded a £20,000 “performance related bonus” on top of his £138,000 annual salary.

He also gets £30,000 a year in pension contributions, a £4,670 car allowance and £935 worth of private medical insurance.

The bonus, agreed recently by the fire authority, follows the recent revelation that Mr Thelwell’s predecessor Mark Jones was paid a £39,490 bonus last year.

Bucks Fire and Rescue has defended the payment, saying all bonuses are self-funding because they come out of savings achieved during the year.

But the Fire Brigades Union, whose members went on strike last year over a pension dispute, say the money would be better used to give firefighters a pay rise.

Dave Green, National Officer for the Fire Brigades Union, said: “We are aware that both of these Chief Fire Officers will defend their one off performance related payments by insisting they have saved taxpayers’ money in times of austerity.

“ However let us not forget that these are already very well paid individuals who were just doing their job”

Mr Green added: “Firefighters do their job every single day without having had a proper pay rise above l% for five years.

“ It doesn’t sit well with the Fire Brigades Union that CFO’s are being paid extra money for cutting a much needed and valued emergency service.”

A spokesman for Bucks Fire and Rescue said Mr Thelwell’s bonus was based on his appraisal for achieving an “under budget performance”, delivering a new Public Safety Plan and maintaining a high government profile.