Firefighters’ strikes postponed after improved pay offer
Strikes by firefighters have been postponed following an increased pay offer during lengthy talks with employers, it was announced on Thursday.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said it has been offered a 7% pay rise backdated to July 2022, and then 5% from July this year.
The union had warned of strikes if a previous 5% pay offer was not increased following a huge vote in favour of industrial action.
The union’s executive decided to put the new offer to a ballot of its members, and has postponed the announcement of strike dates pending the outcome.
The FBU said it will have an “honest and sober” discussion of the offer, adding that it still amounts to a real-terms pay cut given the rate of inflation.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack 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.
“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.
“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.”
Mr Wrack said the union’s executive will now decide whether to recommend the new offer to members.
He told the PA news agency that no strikes will be held while union members vote.
The timing of the ballot is being finalised on Thursday and is likely to take a few weeks.
No details had been given on what would happen during any strikes by firefighters but there has been speculation that the military would provide cover.
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