Firefighters prepare to ballot for strike action over pay

The FBU has rejected a 2% pay offer

Fire Brigades Union balloons at a demonstration

The UK is set for further industrial action as the hot strike summer moves into the autumn. Criminal barristers are currently on indefinite strike, demanding a 25% rise in legal aid fees. The rail unions and postal workers have announced more strike dates in September. Now other unions are starting the process of balloting their members for strike action.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has announced that it is preparing to ballot over 30,000 of its members for strike action. in an ongoing dispute over pay.

Firefighters and firefighter control staff were given a 2 per cent annual pay offer in June, which the FBU says has not been improved upon following representations from the union. A 2 per cent pay deal would be well below the current rate of inflation, which stands at more than 10 per cent.

As such, the pay deal offered to firefighters and firefighter control staff amounts to a significant real-terms pay cut.

Speaking on the decision to ballot members, the FBU’s General Secretary Matt Wrack said, “Taking strike action is always a last resort. But our employers are increasingly leaving us with no choice. And there is huge anger among firefighters at falling pay. Firefighters must be paid fairly: there is absolutely no question when it comes to this. It is the responsibility of fire service employers to provide decent pay offers and that has not happened.

He continued, “The ball is now in the fire service employers’ court. It is not too late for them to make a much better pay offer for consideration by our members.”

The FBU has said that it plans to hold the ballot in five weeks’ time.

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

Left Foot Forward’s trade union reporting is supported by the Barry Amiel & Norman Melburn Trust

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Header image credit: Socialist Appeal – Creative Commons

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