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Rail workers take action in Carlisle

RMT Union workers at another strike Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Rail workers in Carlisle participated in a Union "day of action" between 7am and 9am this morning.

They are joining staff across the north in a campaign to have a publicly owned system in the region.

The RMT Union claims jobs, services, and safety are at risk if franchises are awarded to companies outside the UK.

Factory closure 'devastating'

The factory will begin closing in the next few days.

The closure of the Eastman factory in Workington, with a loss of 152 jobs, has been called "devastating" by Allerdale Borough Council:

“This is devastating news – particularly for those 152 people who have lost their jobs. I feel for every one of them and their families – this is a truly terrible day.

“When you consider that in February this year, there were 1,114 jobseekers in Allerdale this is a huge increase in this area’s unemployment figures. That’s a rise of more than 13% and really puts into context how losing such a major employer is so detrimental to the local economy.

“When the threatened closure was first announced, we met with the management of Eastman, and with other agencies and employers in the area, to see what we could do to help, and I will make sure that these meetings continue.

“We want to be involved in securing the future of the site and we want to see employment back on there as quickly as possible. We will be speaking to the company and our partners in West Cumbria to make sure this happens.”

– Councillor Alan Smith, Leader of Allerdale Borough Council

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Cumbria Police: 'This is a challenging time, but we remain committed'

Deputy Chief Constable Michelle Skeer has issued this statement on behalf of Cumbria Police:

“As the constabulary has previously stated we are currently reviewing a number of areas within Cumbria Constabulary as part of our ongoing need to make financial savings. The Constabulary continues to face major financial challenges and current budget forecasts show that a further £10.8 million needs to be saved by 2018/19.

“One area under review is the Communications Centre, and the possibility of moving to a ‘Command & Control Room’ (CCR) model. This means reviewing front end problem solving and how we deploy officers.

“As a result of this review, staff who work in the Communications Centre are currently involved in a formal consultation regarding proposed changes to how they work.

“It is inappropriate for us to comment in detail on any proposed changes until formal consultation has completed and final decisions have been made. The current proposed option includes new processes and use of a single skill set to achieve first contact resolution; this would be achieved by the application of extended skills, experience and knowledge of criminal law, and police procedures. It is proposed that some of the existing structural silos, such as call handling and the help desk, will be replaced by a single Call Management & Resolution (CMR) function performed by police officers.

“This is being considered because answering calls from the public is a frontline function of policing and experienced police officers have the skills and knowledge to be able to resolve queries immediately to the caller’s satisfaction, or grade the severity of an incident (therefore affecting required response) based on their judgement. Anyone who calls the Constabulary would speak to an officer immediately, without waiting to be transferred or for an officer to arrive on scene. This could reduce demand for an officer to be deployed to some calls, however if an officer is required to attend this would still happen – the safety of people in Cumbria is still our number one priority.

“This proposed change is part of our need to make financial savings – by having a single Call Management & Resolution (CMR) function performed by police officers, who otherwise we would not be able to afford to keep, we can retain and utilise their skills and experience, so that we can change how we resolve calls for service from the public. We appreciate the hard work of all our staff members and difficult decisions affecting our workforce are not made lightly. In an ideal world we would not want to make any staff member redundant, however the Constabulary continues to face major financial challenges. We make every effort to reduce compulsory redundancies by redeploying staff into other roles where we can and consideration of voluntary redundancy.

“Responding to incidents and queries from the public is of the utmost importance to the Constabulary, and we are committed to continuing to provide a high level of service while making the financial savings required of us.

“Following the formal consultation with affected staff, and subject to final decisions being made by chief officers, staffing changes are planned to be implemented by end of September 2015, with full Command and Control working across the Constabulary in April 2016.

“How we effectively manage both emergency and non-emergency calls is of the utmost importance to the Constabulary, and we are dedicated to ensuring that any changes that are made to current processes do not negatively impact on members of the public.

“This is a challenging time, but we remain committed to providing the best possible policing service we can afford for the people of Cumbria.”

– Deputy Chief Constable Michelle Skeer

More than fifty police posts face the axe

Police control room, Carleton Hall Penrith. Credit: ITV Border News

Cumbria Police has confirmed that they are looking at axing 54 jobs in their control room.

It's part of a cost cutting to reduce the police budget by £10.8million.

Cumbria Constabulary say the proposals would see more police officers doing the job of civilians. Staff are currently being consulted about the changes which come into effect in September.

Shortage of retained firefighters in Cumbria

Cumbria Fire and Rescue is looking for more on-call firefighters. The service has an ongoing recruitment drive but is currently focussing on Shap and Silloth. Kate Farrance, who has three young children and a part-time job, recently signed up as a retained firefighter in Appleby.

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Call for more retained firefighters in Cumbria

Cumbria Fire and Rescue is looking for more on-call firefighters.

The service has an on-going recruitment drive which is currently focussed on Shap and Silloth.

Kate Farrance, who has three young children and a part-time job, recently signed up as a retained firefighter in Appleby.

She told ITV Border it has been a rewarding job:

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