The Government has come under scrutiny for not providing enough funding for fire and rescue services, resulting in firefighters being offered an ‘insulting’ 2% pay rise despite inflation sitting at 9.4%.
This ‘insulting’ pay offer has been criticised by firefighters from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and MK Labour. It follows over a decade of pay cuts to the key workers’ take-home pay; between 2009 and 2021, firefighters’ real pay has been cut by nearly £4,000 (12%).
The Fire Brigades Union, which represents firefighters across the country, has rejected the 2% pay award which would result in firefighters and their families being even more worse off. This comes as teachers and the police will get an award of at least 5%.
Together the FBU and MK Labour are calling on the Government to increase funding for fire and rescue services across the country so they can increase their offer and avoid potential strike action.
Labour’s Councillor Emily Darlington, who also sits on the Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority and is Labour Parliamentary Candidate for MK South, said:
“The Conservative’s cost-of-living crisis has seen inflation hit a 40-year high, meaning this abysmal 2% pay offer will leave firefighters and their families out of pocket. It’s despicable that those who save lives daily have lost over £4,000 due to government-imposed reductions in real wages, and the cost-of-living crisis is only expected to get worse.
“Last week’s devastating fires across the country highlighted the vital role that firefighters play in keeping us all safe, and they deserve a pay award that reflects this. The Government should review their funding for fire authorities immediately to ensure firefighters get a pay award that they deserve.”
Chris Wycherley, Fire Brigades Union brigade secretary for Buckinghamshire, added:
“A 2% pay offer is actually a 7% pay cut when inflation’s taken into account. That’s an absolutely disgraceful way to treat our members, who risk their health and often their lives to save others, especially given the fact that we’ve already had a real terms pay cut of over £4,000 since 2009. It illustrates the extent to which this government just does not care about working people. The union has rejected this offer and we will continue to discuss next steps, both here in Buckinghamshire and around the country.”