More than 80% of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) voted to strike in December in a dispute over pay. Had they gone ahead, they would have been the first UK-wide fire strikes over pay since 2003.
No date has been set for the strikes yet but when the action was first announced in December the UK government described it as “disappointing” and “concerning”. Union members previously rejected a 5% pay offer in November.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Today, firefighters were given a new pay offer. 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. The average salary for a trainee firefighter in London is around £28,730 and once qualified rises to around £37,032. Outside of London, a trainee firefighter can earn around £24,191 and around £32,244 when qualified.
“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. Since 2010, the average firefighter has lost at least 12% of the value of their pay.”
“We will now ballot our members. Frontline firefighters and control room staff will make the decision on whether this pay offer is considered a real improvement.”
What is the latest pay offer?
During talks on Tuesday February 8, fire service employers put forward a revised offer, of a 7% pay rise backdated to July last year and another 5% from this July. FBU have said they will now have an “honest and sober” discussion on the offer.