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FBU critical of firefighters pay offer

05 July 2017

THE FIRE Brigades Union (FBU) has described a 2% basic pay increase offer for firefighters as “inadequate”.

After more than four years of discussions, The Fire and Rescue Services National Employers has offered a settlement that would give firefighters a 2% basic pay increase from July this year and a potential further 3% increase in April 2018, with the door open for further increases in 2018, 2019 and 2020, but with no guarantees set out. 

The FBU says the offer fails to address the concerns of its members and that any payment for a 2017 settlement needs to be paid earlier and within the same year. The union acknowledges that the move is the first public sector pay offer to breach the 1% pay cap but claims it fails to take into account the extra work firefighters have taken on in recent years, including responding to new types of terror attacks and medical emergencies.

Pay in the fire and rescue service is not covered by a pay review body but is subject to collective bargaining through the National Joint Council for Local Authority Fire and Rescue Services (NJC).

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “Firefighters have endured seven years of pay restraint imposed by the government. Their real wages are falling and our members are struggling to make ends meet. Firefighters have, in addition, taken on many new roles that are not being recognised in their pay.

“It is sickening to hear politicians praising firefighters for the outstanding work they do every day of their working lives only to be told they have to tighten their belts as a result of economic problems caused by bankers.

“This offer demonstrates that the 1% cap is dead in the water but the offer from our employers is simply not enough. It does not recognise the extra work firefighters have been doing, it fails to address their falling living standards and, despite hints at improvements, does not make clear what they will be earning in future years. This offer lacks detail and credibility”.

FBU members will now consider the offer at local meetings. The union’s executive council will meet again on 24 July to discuss the results of this consultation.