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Firefighters accept pay offer


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Firefighters and Control Room staff across the UK have accepted a new pay deal to end their months-long dispute over pay. 96% of Fire Brigades Union members voted to accept the pay offer on an 84% turnout.

The pay settlement is for 7% backdated to July 2022, plus an additional 5% from July 2023. A mandate for strike action served as a crucial factor in moving Fire Service employers to make the revised offer.

Responding to the news, Fire Brigades Union General Secretary Matt Wrack said: “The overwhelming vote by FBU members to accept the improved offer means that the dispute is resolved on terms that are favourable to firefighters. We pay tribute to members of our union for their determination and unity throughout the past year. Firefighters will now receive two pay increases, including nine months of back pay. 

 “This result is testament to the power collective action. Without the huge mandate for strike action by firefighters last month, this deal would never have been achieved. We moved our employers from 2% in June last year, to 5% in November, and now to 7% plus 5% with an agreement to immediate talks on other areas where have concerns over pay.

 “The crucial mechanism for achieving this outcome was direct negotiations with Fire and Rescue Service employers. With collective bargaining, we were able to make our case and avoid industrial action. This would not have been possible with so-called “independent” Pay Review Body. Under a pay review body strike action would have been inevitable and the government needs to wake up to that fact.

“The FBU leadership has been determined not to sugar-coat the offer. For the current year, 7% is still another real terms pay cut. For the following year (July 2023 to July 2024), when inflation is forecast to be lower, 5% may amount to a slight increase in real terms pay.”

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) Interim Chief Fire & Rescue Officer Andy Hearn said: “I am very pleased that Firefighters have accepted the revised pay offer. From the outset, I have been fully committed to finding a suitable pay offer which recognises the efforts of all our Firefighters. This revised pay offer reflects the dedication and commitment of our Firefighters whilst also hopefully alleviating some of the pressures faced during this current financial climate.

“I am thankful that industrial action has been averted. This has allowed us to avoid the implementation of contingency options in Northern Ireland. It allows us to refocus on the continued delivery of a high quality effective and efficient fire and rescue service that the people of Northern Ireland rightly expect. Our Firefighters are committed to helping keep people safe and improving community wellbeing.”

Wrack added: “It’s clear from this dispute that the organised power of trade unions, including being prepared to take strike action when necessary, can protect the pay and conditions of workers.

“At a time when the UK Government is presiding over attacks on the wages of key workers in the NHS, teaching, rail, and postal services, strikes are the first line of defence against those attacks on workers.

“The FBU stands in solidarity with each and every union on strike for decent pay. 

“We will now step up our resistance against the outrageous and authoritarian law that the Tories have rushed through parliament to restrict the rights of working people to take strike action in defence of wages and jobs.” 

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