'Misery' for Suffolk firefighters underpaid due to faulty computer system

Fire trucks

Many Suffolk firefighters have been underpaid over the last year due to a faulty computer system. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Many Suffolk firefighters have been underpaid over the last year due to a faulty computer system.

Around 1,400 issues have been reported since the fire and rescue service moved from the iTrent payment system to Oracle Fusion in April 2021.

Suffolk County Council said: "There have been some technical issues with firefighter pay, but council staff have worked to rectify them all quickly - often before salary payments have even been made and in some cases making immediate payments where discrepancies have been identified.

"Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service has worked closely with the county council to ensure any issues are dealt with quickly and properly. Indeed, work to remedy the situation is already underway so we're confident that all remaining issues raised by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will be resolved in the next month."

FBU Suffolk brigade secretary Kevin Driver said: "The payslips look a lot better now and there haven't been that many issues reported this month.

"They've offered emergency payments which cover the amount owed, but this doesn't make up for the misery and financial detriment caused over the last year."

Though there are only 400 on-call firefighters in Suffolk, a total of 1,400 issues have been reported.

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Issues include multiple deductions being made for pension payments, payments and deductions for the same figure, deductions taken for the wrong pension scheme and incorrect holiday pay calculations.

It was also reported that in some cases payslips were "incomprehensible" due to being stretched over three pages which mortgage providers refused to use when calculating borrowing amounts.

Another example showed four duplicate pension deductions made to an individual, resulting in a deduction of over 50% of their salary when the deduction should stand at 12.9%.

FBU Suffolk brigade chair Phil Johnson said: "It is disgusting that Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service has not resolved this issue, especially given we are now in a cost of living crisis.

"Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service cannot claim to be looking after their people whilst this drags on.

"No decent employer would leave their employees this far out of pocket due to administrative errors, and potentially facing difficulties paying mortgages, buying food for their families and more. It's completely unacceptable and it needs to be resolved immediately."