Scottish firefighters are urged to reject a new pay offer from Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), after employers have failed to fully address the concerns raised by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
The new proposal comes after the initial pay offer was resoundingly rejected by firefighters in Scotland in July, forcing SFRS back to the table for further negotiations. The initial offer was over concerns including the lack of clarity over sustainable funding, the proposed pay increase and the expansion of firefighters’ roles.
The FBU Executive Council met on 17 December to discuss the revised proposal, followed by a meeting of the Scottish Regional Committee (SRC) on 18 December. Although it was acknowledged that some areas of the proposal had improved, other concerns raised by FBU members, including removing mobilisation to slips, trips and falls from the list of additional duties, have not been satisfactorily addressed. These mobilisations would be following requests from other organisations, including health and social care.
Chris McGlone, Executive Council member for Scotland said:
“Although there are some clear improvements to the new pay proposal, some of the most serious concerns raised by the FBU have been ignored, in particular on Slips, Trips and Falls. The FBU had previously asked for this to be removed from the proposal. Not only was it not removed but the proposal has changed from what was originally described as signposting, to a full mobilisation to Slips Trips and Falls. Additionally, there are major concerns around capacity, and how this could negatively impact the maintenance of existing core skills such as breathing apparatus training and emergency call handling demands.”
Matt Wrack, FBU General Secretary, said:
“Our members rejected the initial proposal and gave the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service the chance to take their concerns seriously. This new proposal still doesn’t sufficiently address the issues raised by our members. Until the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service take all of our concerns seriously, we will continue to urge members to reject their offers.”
The Executive Council recommends that members reject the proposal, however, the FBU remains willing to engage with the SFRS to reach a suitable agreement.
Meetings throughout Scotland will commence in the coming weeks to update members on the pay proposal, and will be followed by a consultative ballot. Timescales of the consultative ballot will be issued in due course.