Firefighters expected to accept pay offer aimed at averting strikes

A revised offer has been made. Credit: PA

Firefighters are expected to accept a pay offer aimed at averting strikes later on Monday, with a union leader branding the proposed deal a “step forward”.

A revised offer was made in February to the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) of a 7% pay rise backdated to last July and a further 5% from July this year.

The union’s executive has decided to recommend that members vote to accept the offer in a ballot which opened on February 20 and closes on Monday.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s a step forward but it would not be the end of our campaigning on pay.

“We think there is significant under-investment in the fire service and that needs to be addressed.”

Firefighters and control room staff voted to strike over pay for the first time since 2003 back in January. Credit: PA

Mr Wrack said the results of the ballot will be confirmed at 2pm but feedback indicates the offer will be accepted by members.

He praised the process of collective bargaining through which the settlement figure was reached as a better alternative to pay review bodies, towards which he said workers feel “sceptical”.

“Let’s be clear, if firefighters had a pay review body I think we would have been on strike last September,” he said.

“So, actually, interesting… collective bargaining, which is much maligned by Westminster government unfortunately, may end up resulting in no strikes in the fire service, whereas many sectors where there are pay review bodies, obviously we do have strikes.”

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