Firefighters urged to reject four-year pay deal

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Scottish Fire and Rescue

Scottish firefighters are to be balloted on a new pay offer, with their union urging them to reject it.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has offered a pay rise over four years.

But the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) wants it to remove demands that firefighters be prepared to attend non-emergency accident calls.

The SFRS said firefighters must take on a broadened role in supporting vulnerable people.

The union said this could include being called out to help an elderly person who had fallen in their home.

Chris McGlone, FBU executive council member for Scotland said: "We have had a case recently when an appliance was outside of someone's home for five hours because no health or social care help was available.

"This has a clear implication for our ability to deal with emergency calls."

Firefighters would see their basic pay rise in stages from October 2019 to July 2022 by 14.74% compound, with an overall increase from July 2019 to July 2022 of 17% compound.

The original pay offer from SFRS was rejected by union members in July.

The new deal is to be put to FBU members in a ballot in January, and if it is rejected, it is likely there will be a move to a further ballot for industrial action.

Mr McGlone said while negotiations in Scotland were separate from those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, pay talks there had broken down, which could lead to UK-wide action.

'Broadening role'

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Firefighters at the national training centre in Cambuslang

The chief officer of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Martin Blunden, said the pay offer would mean a firefighter would receive a basic salary of £35,734 by July 2022.

He added: "The pay offer for our staff has always been linked to the broadening of our role in helping to meet the new challenges our communities face and to ensure we keep the people of Scotland safe.

"Providing a slips, trips and falls response is a critical development in supporting the most vulnerable people in our communities. Our position, from the start of negotiations with the FBU, has been that a falls response has to be included within the broadened role."

He added: "We believe this remains the best possible pay offer and that we have included all of the necessary safeguards and control measures to ensure the broadened role can be delivered successfully and safely in Scotland."