Firefighters left with 'no choice' ahead of protest over pay

Members of the Fire Brigade Union will stage a demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament next week.

Firefighters left with ‘no choice’ as they prepare ‘biggest protest in years’ over pay SFRS

Firefighters say they have been left with “no choice” as they prepare to stage their biggest pay demonstration in years.

Members of the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) will take their pay rise campaign to Holyrood this week.

The union has urged its members to reject the latest 5% pay offer, with a consultative ballot opening on October 31 to November 14.

A further ballot for strike action could follow if the pay offer is rejected.

Scottish FBU secretary John McKenzie said firefighters have been risking their lives while facing thousands of pounds in real terms pay cuts.

The union previously told how firefighters were being forced to go to food banks amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Alongside the campaign for fair pay, firefighters will also take their calls to an end to service cuts and for increased staff levels to MSPs.

McKenzie said: “Firefighters risk their lives keeping the communities and people of Scotland safe.

“Every day our members respond to emergency situations across the country. We are at the forefront of the climate emergency, dealing with increased numbers of wildfires, flooding and major incidents.

“Taking strike action is always a last resort but our employers are increasingly leaving us with no choice.

“After a decade of cuts, firefighters and control room staff in Scotland have seen their pay cut by over £4,000 in real terms.

“This cannot go on. Inflation is sitting at 12% and food, energy and other household bills are soaring.

“The UK and Scottish governments must fund a fair pay increase for members who keep communities and businesses safe every day of the year.

“FBU members must be made a serious pay offer that addresses the cost-of-living crisis.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Firefighter pay is negotiated through UK-wide collective bargaining arrangements, which includes SFRS as the employer. The Scottish Government is not part of these arrangements.

“The Scottish Government has continued the commitment to support SFRS service delivery and modernisation with a further uplift of £9.5m for 2022-23 bringing the budget to £352.7m.”

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