Q. Why is the FBU balloting members on the proposal?
A. Fire service employers have tabled an offer on pay. However, it comes with no guarantees from central government that they will fund the increase. The offer has so many open-ended strings that it would permit a fragmented free-for-all for local principal managers.
We need to send a strong message to tell employers to get back to the negotiating table and develop a serious, professional and sustainable pay proposal. This affects every FBU member. The Executive Council believe that a ballot is the most democratic method to facilitate FBU members in sending a strong message to employers and the government that the proposal is unacceptable.
Q. Why has the FBU been in discussion with the NJC over broadening the role of firefighters?
A. The Westminster government has capped our pay for a decade. They have cut the fire and rescue service to the bone – one in five firefighter jobs have been cut in England alone. The NJC negotiations represent the best strategy to break this log-jam and get a substantial pay-rise for firefighters.
These discussions have included the potential to further broaden the work undertaken by FBU members, but in a properly controlled manner. The aim has been to make a strong case for investment now and for the future – including addressing the issue of pay.
Throughout all the negotiations, the FBU has been clear that any change to roles needs to fully address concerns about:
- Operational procedures
- Training and equipment
- Health, safety and welfare
- Pay and compensation
Q. What does ‘non-exhaustive’ mean?
A. The proposal from employers includes ‘non-exhaustive’ lists of work activities. This would mean that FBU members would face an open-ended contract where the range of activities would be under the control of the local employer.
With no promise from central government for funding the pay increase, it is unacceptable that local employers could extend lists of work activities and FBU members would not be appropriately remunerated.
Q. Why is the FBU asking members to vote ‘YES’ to question 2?
A. Any development of the work roles and activities of FBU members must be properly negotiated at a UK-wide level. The ‘non-exhaustive’ list of activities set out by employers has not been agreed by both sides of the NJC, and will continue to allow local fragmentation. By voting ‘YES’, we can continue our strategy to develop a UK-wide agreement on the role of the fire and rescue service.
Q. Why are national agreements better than local arrangements?
A. There is currently a wide variety of additional work activities being carried out by members across fire and rescue services. Some FBU members are receiving no additional payment for work activities. Other members in different FRSs are being paid extra for the same activity. These figures represent actual payments for duties relating to rescue from water.
FRS A: £600 per annum
FRS B: £300 per annum
FRS C: £550.80 per annum
FRS D: £1000 per annum
FRS E: £0 per annum
Through its strategy, the FBU is seeking national agreement to standardise proper payment and procedures for broadening firefighters’ roles.
Q. How can I vote?
A. Either online or by post. Once you have filled out your ballot paper, you can return it in the pre-paid envelope to Independent Scrutineer, Popularis Ltd, Nutsey Lane, Totton, Southampton, SO40 3RL.
To vote online, you will receive a unique password on your printed ballot which can be entered at https:\\www.votepopularis.com/fbu. If you have previously registered your email address with the union, you will also receive this unique password in an email from Popularis.
Q. Is voting online secure?
A. Yes, voting online is secure. Every member will be provided with a unique password on the printed ballot paper posted to home addresses, and where we have email addresses, in an email sent by Popularis. This allows you to vote anonymously.
Q. What happens if I vote online and then submit my paper ballot?
A. Please do not submit more than one vote. If you vote online and also submit a paper ballot, neither vote will be counted.
Q. What do I do if I haven’t received my ballot paper yet?
If you haven’t received a ballot paper, email [email protected] or phone 0208 541 1765 to arrange for a replacement. Although the deadline has passed for arranging a replacement postal ballot, you can receive a replacement email ballot in time to vote if you contact Membership Services before the following date/time:
- 14:00 on Thursday 4th April
All the information about the ballot, including the proposals from the employers, can be found here.