AN outspoken former regional fire chief has launched a “substantial” claim for compensation from the fire service over allegations that he was the victim of age discrimination.
David Dalziel, 62, was the chief fire officer of the former Grampian Fire and Rescue Service from 2005 until the brigade was disbanded with the formation of the new national fire service in April of this year.
He is now taking the service to an employment tribunal amid allegations of age discrimination, after being turned down for the first chief officer’s job for the new national fire service as well as a number of other key roles within the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
At the tribunal, due to be heard in Aberdeen next month, Mr Dalziel is expected to claim he missed out on the top positions because of his age and that he was forced to resign from the service as a result.
Paul Lefevre, of Aberdeen-based Quantum Claims, who is acting for Mr Dalziel, said: “Mr Dalziel had about 44 years’ service with the fire service and had reached the highest position you can reach within Aberdeen.
“If successful, the compensation in this case could be substantial.”
He continued: “Our position is that he was not considered for any substantive role within the new organisation and that was related to his age. Following events of the selection process, his position was made untenable.”
Mr Dalziel, who currently advises the UK Government as a consultant on emergency planning and crisis management, raised concerns about the formation of a single fire service, only days before Scotland’s eight fire services were disbanded. He claimed that the merger to a single service had been rushed and said that six more months of planning would have been “ideal” to ensure stability within the new organisation. He also clashed with the Scottish Government over the installation of a £40million communications system for fire vehicles.
Mr Dalziel opposed the fitting of the system in the 24 private cars of senior fire brigade managers on the grounds that the equipment is not hands-free.
A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “We are aware that papers have been lodged in relation to an employment tribunal and as such it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.”