An announcement of dates for a national strike of firefighters and control room staff has been postponed after an increased pay offer from Fire and Rescue Service employers.
At talks on Tuesday, employers offered a 7% pay rise on nationally negotiated rates backdated to July 2022, with another 5% rise from July 2023.
The executive committee of the Fire Brigades Union yesterday decided to ballot its members on the new offer, and has postponed announcing strike dates, something it had promised to do today had a new offer not been forthcoming.
Last week, 88% of firefighters and control room staff in England, Scotland and Wales voted in favour of strike on a 73% turnout. In Northern Ireland, 94% voted in favour.
The union said the new offer still amounts to a real-terms pay cut but that it will have an “honest and sober” discussion with members.
Fire service pay talks
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “This offer is testament to the power of collective action through the Fire Brigades Union. Last year we were offered an insulting 2%. The employers have now revised their position.
“We have achieved this increase because of the massive vote in favour of strike action by firefighters and control staff across the country, which made clear the strength of feeling among firefighters about cuts to their wages.”
He said that, since 2010, the average firefighter has suffered a 12% devaluation of their pay.
“We will now ballot our members,” he said. “Frontline firefighters and control room staff will make the decision on whether this pay offer is considered a real improvement. Our internal discussions will be honest and sober. While the offer is improved from last year, it still amounts to a real-terms pay cut.
“Meanwhile, plans to announce a series of strike dates and industrial action will be postponed, pending the outcome of the ballot. Eighty-eight per cent of firefighters voted for industrial in our ballot. The mandate for strike action by firefighters remains.”
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