The Fire Brigades Union has recommended that its members accept a revised pay offer, after it postponed planned strike action for workers to vote on the offer.
The FBU said the new pay offer, for a 7% rise backdated to July last year and for another 5% increase from 1 July this year, was below inflation but still represented a “significant shift” from a previous offer of just 2%.
The FBU’s general secretary, Matt Wrack, said that while the union leadership would not “sugarcoat” the pay offer, it had made its recommendation after weighing up the “positives and negatives”.
In an email to FBU members, 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.
“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.”
A resolution of the dispute, if union members accept the pay offer during a ballot to be held from 20 February to 6 March, would offer some relief to the government after a wave of strikes across sectors including education, railways and healthcare.