FARNWORTH fire station is expected to operate with just one engine tomorrow — as a row over staff shortages and overtime intensifies.

Farnworth is one of a number of stations in Greater Manchester that will be affected by the staff shortages this week - but fire bosses have said this will not affect any stations’ ability to respond to an emergency.

Fire Brigade Union representatives are now meeting with fire chiefs in London to try to resolve the issues.

A key argument revolves around the amount of hours being worked by firefighters in the region and the payment for overtime.

Crews work a set number of hours on flexible shifts and the union have said that firefighters in the region are running out of these allotted hours.

Management have offered the crews the opportunity to work additional hours but said that the union is advising its members not to take up the offer.

The FBU said this is because the additional hours would be at the normal rate of pay, rather than at the contracted time-and-a-half amount that should be offered for overtime.

FBU divisional Representative Alan Cox said: “The union are willing to lift any ban on doing overtime as long as it is paid at time-and-a-half."

County Fire Officer and Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Steve McGuirk, said:

"It is very misleading for us to say pumps are 'on' or 'off' the run on a station by station basis as it implies there will be no emergency response for that station for the day and causes unnecessary public alarm.

"The bottom line is if you dial 999 in the event of a fire - we will be there and in the same response times we have committed to -  and we will move our resources around to ensure we can."