The FBU and fire service employers have agreed to pause discussions surrounding the broadening of firefighters’ roles, with employers offering a 2% pay rise for 2019/20. FBU members will be consulted on the pay offer through union structures, with the Executive Council recommending that members accept the offer.
The Executive Council raised serious concerns that the pay rise on offer represents a real-terms pay cut, but ultimately decided that “it is better that this money is in the pockets of FBU members than in bank accounts of our employers”.
After months of heated negotiations at the National Joint Council (NJC), it became clear that a breakthrough was not imminent. The Executive Council has resolved to prepare the ground for a major campaign addressing the increasing amount of work outside of firefighter’s negotiated roles.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said
“It’s disgraceful that, in full knowledge of the existing pressures on firefighters, the employers have offered a real terms pay cut. But, with no meaningful progress on pay negotiations in sight, we must secure a pay increase for firefighters now to offset rising living costs.
“This comes after a decade of falling wages in real terms, all while fire and rescue services are cut to the bone. Firefighters are doing work that is not in their contract and they aren’t being paid for it. That has to end.”
Firefighters overwhelmingly rejected a hypothetical pay proposal from employers earlier this year. The proposal was not linked to a guaranteed pay increase, instead proposing increases that employers would like to give. Any serious, funded offer from employers is likely to be dependent on the government’s next spending review.