Firefighters agree 16 per cent pay rise

The
long-running firefighters’ dispute has ended with agreement on a 16 per cent
pay increase.

Firefighters
voted three-to-one in favour of the deal at a special union conference in
Glasgow today.

Firefighters
would receive 4 per cent more in their next pay packets, followed by 7 per cent
in November and the remaining increase by July next year to take the average
salary to £25,000. The deal also includes modernisation of the fire service and
consultation about changes.

Fire
Brigades Union (FBU) chief Andy Gilchrist said the deal, more than three times
the rate of inflation, was "a decent deal for people who provide a
first-class service".

Gilchrist
hinted there may be trouble to come. When asked about the pay compromise, he
said: "We have always said our people are worth £30,000. This is the first
phase on the way to achieving that."

Not
everyone agreed to the deal. Steve Green, a firefighter from Bromley, said he
believed Gilchrist should resign.

"He
has done everything to undermine our action. He has cancelled strikes and the
deal on offer now is the same as one we have already rejected", he said.

By Michael Millar

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