Wallingford firefighter quits after hours dispute with bosses

Herald Series: Paul Fritz-Johnson Paul Fritz-Johnson

A FIREFIGHTER says he felt forced to resign when the fire and rescue service refused to offer him more flexible working hours.

Paul Fritz-Johnson spent nine years as a retained firefighter in Wallingford before he quit in December.

He says Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is in need of more part-time firefighters to be based at stations across the county and his training will now go to waste.

The 47-year-old High Street resident said: “I am being denied the chance to work for my community.”

When Mr Fritz-Johnson worked from home as a sales training consultant he was on-hand to work as a retained firefighter any day of the week.

But after he became a wine merchant a year ago he was no longer available to be on-call during normal working hours.

And when it came for him to sign a new contract last month, he said the fire service insisted he would have to be on-call on four out of six weekends if he was not available during daytime hours in the week.

But Mr Fritz-Johnson says he is willing to be on-call between 5.30pm and 8am every weekday and any time at weekends, apart from a two-hour gap so he can walk his dog.

He said: “They need firefighters at virtually every station.”

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said: “Due to confidentiality, we are unable to discuss matters regarding contractual arrangements with council staff.”

The council recruits for retained firefighters all year round depending on individual station needs.

There are currently 22 fire stations across the county which are seeking on-call firefighters including Abingdon, Banbury, Bicester and Chipping Norton.

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