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Almost third of staff at Portadown fire station off sick over last year due to ‘bullying claims’

Concerns have been raised around the workplace environment at Portadown Fire Station, after it was revealed that almost a third of staff have been off sick in the last year, allegedly due to stress caused by ‘bullying and harassment’.

Reported by the Belfast Telegrapha source speaking to the paper said the station has been at “very dangerously low numbers” for over six months.

They also said a Freedom of Information request found that at the station, 12 staff had been off work due to illness from January 2023 to January 2024.

When contacted by Armagh I, a Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) Spokesperson said: “A robust internal investigation into allegations of misconduct at Portadown Fire Station has concluded.

“The appropriate action has been taken in line with NIFRS policy. We do not comment on individual employee matters. Ongoing support is being provided.

“We want to reassure the local community that an effective emergency response in the Portadown area is being maintained.  Your Fire & Rescue Service is ready to respond when you need us most.”

Last September, an independent inspection of the NIFRS, led by HM Chief Inspector Robert Scott of the Scottish fire service found that, “one of the biggest challenges over the past decade has been a lack of stability of leadership at the Executive level within NIFRS”.

It also found: “Across the organisation, staff were routinely challenged and frustrated by what they perceive to be a lack of workforce planning, stating that NIFRS always seems to be reactive rather than proactive.”

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