Pay discussions with fire service employers and governments
The Executive Council has agreed the following statement which has been sent to the fire service employers for consideration by the National Joint Council:
The pay of firefighters, including those working in emergency fire controls, has suffered as a result of years of austerity. This has caused, and continues to cause, hardship and demoralisation and is undermining the fire and rescue service.
The FBU notes that the work of the fire and rescue service and of firefighters has expanded significantly over recent years. Some additional roles have been introduced by agreement and with some form of pay, others have been introduced without agreement and without pay. In relation to some activities, there are cases of different payments (or no payment) being made in different services. This is unfair and unacceptable.
The FBU has also been engaged in discussions with the fire service employers about these matters and about other potential areas of new work such as emergency medical response (co-responding) and MTFA. The FBU is clear that the introduction of any such new work must involve clear agreements regarding training, equipment, procedures and standards.
In relation to the new activities already undertaken and to other potential areas of activity, it is clear that there have been, and could be further, very significant contributions to public safety but this has meant and will mean increases in the skills of, and workload undertaken by, the workforce.
Both sides of the NJC have been engaged in dialogue with governments across the UK about these issues and have made the case for additional funding for our service, including for pay. We are aware that employers have previously mentioned making increases in phases. In the event of an agreement, we seek increases to be paid as quickly as possible. The FBU has concluded that it is reasonable that Grey Book rates of pay should be increased by 17%. We consider such an increase in pay to reflect the value of today’s firefighters.
If such an agreement can be reached, firefighters’ pay must not be allowed to fall behind due to rapid increases in inflation or other squeezes on living standards. Therefore, for the FBU, any such settlement would need to be maintained and protected against such threats.