Scottish firefighters could walk out amid pay dispute 

Members of the Fire Brigades Union are being balloted for action.

Firefighters in Scotland could be set to walk out in the first industrial action on pay for two decades.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union are being balloted over to take strike action in a dispute over pay.

An indicative vote earlier this year saw the majority of firefighters rejected an offer of a 5% rise.

The action could lead to more than 33,000 members of the union walking out across the UK.

It would represent the first national strike since action on pensions between 2013 and 2015.

The last time that a walk out took place due to pay was between 2002 and 2003.

John McKenzie, secretary of the Fire Brigades Union in Scotland, urged bosses to come forward with an improved pay offer.

“Our members are not prepared to tolerate any further erosion of their living standards,” he said.

“With inflation soaring to 11% and the price of food, energy and everyday items going through the roof, a 5% offer is an insult to firefighters.”

McKenzie added: “Our members risk their lives every day to protect communities and businesses.

“The Scottish Government and employers across the UK must come up with a fair offer that fully recognises the cost-of-living crisis if we are to avoid strike action.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government explained that pay is negotiated through UK-wide collective bargaining agreements.

However, they encouraged both sides in the dispute to continue negotiations .

“Firefighter pay is negotiated through UK-wide collective bargaining agreements, which includes SFRS as the employer. The Scottish Government is not part of these,” they said.

“We would encourage both sides to continue negotiating to reach a fair deal for firefighters.

“The Scottish Government has continued to support SFRS service delivery and modernisation with a further uplift of £9.5m for 2022/2023, bringing the budget to £352.7m”