Fire Brigades Union call off strike action as new 7% deal ends nine-month long pay dispute
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Firefighters have accepted a new pay offer, putting an end to the strike action that was put on hold during negotiations last month. The deal includes a 7% pay rise backdated to last July, with a further 5% from July this year.
According to the Fire Brigades Union, 96% of Fire Brigades Union members voted to accept the pay offer on an 84% turnout. Describing the outcome as “favourable” to firefighters, Fire Brigades Union General Secretary Matt Wrack said the deal will see firefighters receive two pay increases, including nine months of back pay.
More than 80% of FBU members supported strike action in December, but it was postponed while talks continued in February. The union’s executive had recommended that members vote to accept the new offer during the ballot, which closed on Monday.
Mr Wrack added: "This result is testament to the power of 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 there are concerns over pay.”
He said the process of collective bargaining was a better alternative to pay review bodies, as they were able to make their case and avoid industrial action, adding: "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."
If the strikes had gone ahead, they would have been the first in the UK’s fire service since 2003.