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Firefighters set to receive 2% pay increase in wake of FBU consultation

02 October 2020

FIREFIGHTERS WILL receive a 2% pay increase following a month-long consultation period conducted through Fire Brigades Union (FBU) structures. After seeking the opinions of FBU members and officials across the country, the FBU’s Executive Council has agreed that the pay increase should be made immediately.

Matt Wrack, the FBU’s general secretary, has written to the National Employers to inform them. Information regarding new rates of pay will be issued by the National Joint Council in due course.

In a circular to FBU members, the Executive Council said: “This money would be better used by our own members in their pay packets [than] sitting in the bank accounts and reserves of our employers.” The Executive Council is now developing a campaign to take place this autumn to “fight back” against more than a decade of “pay restraint”.

The Trade Union will also seek to resume separate pay discussions with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service after FBU members rejected an initial pay increase offer back in February.

Condemnation from FBU

Employers offered firefighters and control staff a 2% pay uplift at the end of June, which is below that for teachers, doctors, dentists and police and prison officers. The offer is on par with judges, senior civil servants and members of the Armed Forces.

The FBU’s Executive Council condemned fire chiefs and Government ministers for “not valuing” the life-saving work of firefighters and control staff, even after aiding the health and social care sector’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Executive Council put the pay offer out to consultation recommending that, while it did not address years of austerity-driven pay restraint for firefighters and control staff, the proposed increase should be made immediately to urgently address the drop in firefighters’ living standards.

Circular to members

In a circular to FBU members, Matt Wrack said: “The Executive Council was clear that this increase does not and cannot resolve the issue of pay in the Fire and Rescue Service. Our members, along with hundreds of thousands of other public sector workers, have maintained and delivered our essential service through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have also taken on additional roles and functions which have helped to save lives and keep communities safe.”

Wrack continued: “The Government – and the fire service employers – must now acknowledge this by delivering the vital investment our service needs. This investment is essential if the issue of declining real pay is to be addressed. The Executive Council is developing the basis for building our campaign around these issues. This will involve the necessary research, communications, lobbying and campaigning activity this autumn.”

By way of conclusion, Wrack observed: “If we are to make progress on this vital issue, it will require the commitment of every single one of us.”