FBU leadership recommends acceptance of revised pay offer

The Executive Council of the Fire Brigades Union has unanimously recommended that members accept a revised pay offer.

Fire Service employers agreed to a 7% pay rise backdated to July 2022 and a further 5% pay rise from July 2023. This is a significant shift. In June last year, firefighters were offered just 2%. In November, they overwhelmingly rejected 5% in a consultative ballot.

It was only when firefighters voted in huge numbers for industrial action that employers finally moved. 88% of FBU members voted Yes to strike action on a 73% turnout, with 94% voting Yes in Northern Ireland.

The FBU had already agreed not to name strike dates while members are consulted on the offer and has set out a timetable to consult members. A hybrid online and postal ballot will open on Monday 20th February and close on Monday 6th March at 2pm.

In an email to FBU members, FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack wrote:

“We should all be proud of the campaign we have run to get this far. We have now moved our employers from 2% in June last year, to 5% in November, and now to 7% plus 5%.

“This achievement was only possible because of our overwhelming mandate for strike action. It is clear evidence of the value of collective bargaining and negotiation as opposed to so-called “independent” pay review bodies.”

However, he stressed that the union leadership would not “sugar-coat” the offer: “Given the current rate of inflation, 7% is another real terms pay cut for the current pay round (which runs from July 2022 to July 2023). 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.

“The Executive Council has weighed up the positives and negatives and decided that, on balance, we recommend that members vote to accept this offer. It was honest and sober in its assessment, but it was also unanimous.

“This is your union, and it is now for you to decide whether this offer represents a good enough improvement for us to resolve this dispute.”

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