UK firefighters vote to strike in row over pay

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Firefighters throughout the UK have voted for strike motion in a row over pay.

The Fire Brigades Union mentioned whereas it had a mandate to take its members out on strike, it might not announce any dates till after it meets employers.

More than 80% of members who voted backed strike motion throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland once they had been balloted final month.

The authorities mentioned the specter of strikes can be “disappointing and concerning for the public”.

The FBU mentioned it might delay saying any strike dates till after it had met hearth service employers – the brigades in English native authority areas, the regional hearth companies in Wales and the nationwide organisations in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

That assembly is scheduled for 8 February – the place the FBU mentioned it hoped to obtain a revised pay provide.

The union says that since 2010, its members have skilled a 12% drop in actual phrases earnings.

It additionally says that in the identical interval, about one in 5 firefighter jobs have been lower.

Of the 73% of union members who voted, 88% of workers voted to take motion.

In a separate poll, management room workers within the north-west of England additionally agreed to the proposed walkouts.

The earliest seemingly date for any motion can be 23 February.

If the strike goes forward, it will likely be the primary nationwide walkout over pay in 20 years.

Matt Wrack, common secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, mentioned the federal government “need to wake up and wise up to the level of anger among their employees about falling real pay in the fire service”.

He instructed BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “They clearly have misjudged the mood… and now they best move. Otherwise we’ll be setting strike dates.”

In response, Downing Street mentioned the federal government would urge the FBU to “reconsider and keep negotiating”.

The prime minister’s official spokesman mentioned the federal government was working to “mitigate the possible risks that [strike action] poses”.

Elena Whitham, Scottish Government group security minister, referred to as the strike risk “disappointing”.

She mentioned: “At this point, we would encourage continued negotiations through the well-established collective bargaining arrangements.”

The FBU mentioned it has a negotiated settlement in place in order that hanging firefighters will reply to main incidents, with the agreements made between companies regionally.

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Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary, mentioned: “No one, including firefighters themselves, wants a strike.

“It is that this Conservative authorities’s reckless behaviour that has crashed the financial system, and their failure to get a grip on inflation means working individuals are struggling an increasing number of. This is their mess to repair.”

She mentioned the home secretary ought to “get across the desk and speak”.

Union members rejected a previous 5% pay offer in November, arguing it would equal a real-terms pay cut given current high rate of inflation.

Inflation measured by the Consumer Prices Index rose by 10.7% in the 12 months to November 2022.

Currently, a trainee firefighter in London can earn a salary of £28,730, including London weighting. Once they are qualified, their salary can increase to £37,032.

Outside London, trainee firefighters earn £24,191 rising to £32,244 after qualification.

The FBU is the latest union to vote to take action over pay offers that do not match the rising cost of living.

Teachers in England and Wales will be walking out on Wednesday after talks with the government failed, with more strikes due next month.

There may also be further disruption on the railways this week as train drivers from the RMT and Aslef are due to take action.

The government said that meeting double-digit demands would hamper efforts to bring down inflation.