Public sector reform and work restructuring for firefighters in Scotland

Jendro, Eva and Scholarios, Dora; Baines, Donna and Cunningham, Ian, eds. (2020) Public sector reform and work restructuring for firefighters in Scotland. In: Working in the Context of Austerity. Bristol University Press, Bristol, pp. 153-172. ISBN 9781529208672

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This chapter examines restructuring in the public services as a policy response to fiscal consolidation pressures. More specifically, it describes restructuring efforts aimed at rationalization and efficiency gains at several levels, including national, organizational, workgroup and job. The case study of Fire and Rescue Services in Scotland illustrates the manifestations of work restructuring at different levels of analysis, and potential consequences for individual experiences of work. As detailed in Chapter 1, the transformation of the global financial crisis (GFC) into a sovereign debt crisis put public budgets under strain and public expenditure in the spotlight in a significant share of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations. Contraction of public expenditure through cuts and restructuring of public services formed part of the main policy response. Considering the labour-intensive nature of service provision, savings in public sector workforce compensation formed one of the main foci (Glassner and Watt, 39 2010; Grimshaw et al, 2012), either through reductions in workforce size and composition or through direct decreases in remuneration and benefits (OECD, 2012, p 23).