Firefighters offered 16 per cent rise with strings attached

All qualified full-time
firefighters will earn £25,000 a year within 16 months, if a pay offer made
today by fire employers is accepted by the union.

The above-inflation pay rise is
linked to the modernisation of the fire service.

The proposed five year offer

     4 per cent backdated to
November 2002

     7 per cent from November 2003

     4.2 per cent from July 2004

     Increase linked to a pay
formula from July 2005

     Increase linked to a pay
formula from July 2006

By July 2004 the above package
would result in a cumulative 16 per cent rise, resulting in an annual wage of
£25,000 for a qualified firefighter.

The deal would also give
retained (part-time) firefighters the same hourly pay rate as their full-time
counterparts, a key element of the union’s pay claim.

The employers are also prepared
to support a joint evaluation of fire control operators’ jobs, to compare their
role and rates of pay with those of firefighters.

But the whole package is
dependent on the union agreeing to modernisation of the fire service.

Representing the employers, Ted
George, said: “The increased pay on offer is far more than anyone else is
receiving in the public sector. That is because it is a something-for-something

"The rises will be funded
by modernisation and improvement of the fire service. If the modernisation does
not happen, neither will the wage rises.

The proposals will be
considered by the FBU’s executive at a conference on 19 March.

Paul Nelson

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