By Chris King • 30 January 2023 • 22:02
Image of fire engines.
For the first time since 2003, members of the Fire Brigades Union in Britain today, Monday, January 30, voted in favour of industrial action. According to a union spokesperson, with a 73 per cent turnout, 88 per cent of its 32,000 members chose to down tools. Similarly, in Northern Ireland, on a turnout of 68 per cent, 94 per cent of firefighters voted to strike.
Today’s result brings the threat of a national strike ever closer. The union bosses offered the government one last chance to improve its offer by giving them another 10 days to think about it. A 5 per cent increased pay offer was declined by the union last November.
It claimed that one of every five jobs has been cut since 2010, with firefighters’ real-terms earnings also dropping by 12 per cent.
“Firefighters have faced a sustained attack on pay for more than a decade, with average pay falling by about £4,000 in real terms. Our members face hazardous situations every day and sometimes risk their health to do the job”, stated FBU general secretary Matt Wrack.
He added: “Facing double-digit inflation and rocketing energy bills, they are now being told to put up with an even bigger real-terms pay cut”.
According to reports, office and cleaning staff have been undergoing emergency training in anticipation of any industrial action occurring, as reported by thesun.co.uk.
Mark Hardingham, the chairman of the National Fire Chiefs commented that they were prepared to train “anyone else who is prepared to step forward”. There is even the possibility that the army would be drafted in to help. Control room staff have also confirmed their solidarity to join the firefighters should they strike.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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