Firefighters postpone strikes after increased pay offer
Firefighter strikes have been postponed after an increased pay offer from employers, the Fire Brigades Union has announced.
The new offer is for 7% backdated to July 2022, and then 5% from 1 July this year.
This has now been put to a ballot of members, and the union has postponed the announcement of strike dates, pending its outcome.
Read more: More strikes to come – who is taking action, and when?
The union said while discussions will be “honest and sober”, the new offer still represents a real terms pay cut, with firefighters experiencing a 12% drop in earnings since 2010.
One in five jobs in the service has been cut in the same period, according to the FBU.
Firefighters had previously overwhelmingly backed action, with 88% voting in favour of strikes.
In November, members rejected an offer of a 5% pay increase, with unions arguing this was below inflation and would be felt as a real-terms cut by workers.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Today, firefighters were given a new pay offer.
“This offer is testament to the power of collective action through the Fire Brigades Union. Last year we were offered an insulting 2%. The employers have now revised their position.
“We have achieved this increase because of the massive vote in favour of strike action by firefighters and control staff across the country, which made clear the strength of feeling among firefighters about cuts to their wages.”
The last time there was a nationwide walkout by firefighters was in 2003.
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Polling previously showed strong public support for strike action by firefighters, the union said, with around three in five people backing action.
The industrial action comes on the back of research by the FBU and the University of Central Lancashire, which found firefighters are more likely to die of cancer than the general public.