Firefighters have been forced to take loans to stop them plunging into debt after their pay date was changed by a private company.
Staff at Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service saw their pay date moved by 10 days after One Connect Ltd took over the running of the payroll services.
The move meant workers were faced with the prospect of bills coming out of their accounts before their pay had arrived and the fire service was forced to set up an emergency loan for workers last month. Steve Harman, of the Fire Brigades Union in Lancashire, said: “All my standing orders come out soon after I get paid so if I don’t get paid on the 16th, I will get overdrawn.
“If you times that by a thousand workers, it will be a problem. I got a temporary loan which I have to pay pack over the next 12 months, there was no other way around it.”
One Connect is a private firm which was formed as a partnership between BT and Lancashire County Council with the telecoms giant holding a 60% stake in the firm.
It has taken over the running of a number of council functions including payroll services and in April it inherited an existing contract between the county council and the fire service to handle its payroll.
The fire service has now confirmed it has ‘moved’ some of its services but declined to confirm details.
A spokesman said: “The move called for some administrative changes to be made but these have been implemented smoothly and without any adverse impact on our organisation or its personnel.
“However, we will be moving some of the services we currently receive from One Connect in order to better meet our requirements.”
A spokesman for One Connect, said: “One Connect Limited has no comment to make on this matter.
“This is a private and confidential commercial matter between two parties who remain under contract.”