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Daily Record
Daily Record
Stephen Temlett

Dumfries and Galloway firefighters heading for strike action for first time in 20 years

Firefighters in Dumfries and Galloway are set to strike for the first time in two decades in a row over pay.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) have voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of industrial action after rejecting a five per cent increase at the end of last year.

The ballot closed on Monday with 88 per cent of members voting for strikes on a 73 per cent turnout.

No dates for industrial action have been announced, but the FBU has given the government 10 days to come forward with a new offer.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said: “Firefighters across the UK have spoken. The FBU has a decisive mandate for strike action.

“This is an overwhelming vote for strike action against an offer which would mean further significant cuts to real terms wages for firefighters and control room staff.

“They have already lost at least 12 per cent of the value of their pay since 2010.

“This is an absolute last resort for our members. The responsibility for any disruption to services lies squarely with fire service employers and government ministers.

“Rishi Sunak’s government has refused to make funding available for a decent pay offer to firefighters and control staff.

“Firefighters were among Britain’s Covid-19 heroes who kept frontline services going during the pandemic.

“The Prime Minister has badly misjudged the public mood by imposing pay cuts on key workers.

“Our members risk their health and safety, and sometimes their lives, round the clock to keep people safe and serve their communities. However, with inflation and energy bills rocketing, they are now increasingly struggling to pay the bills or to afford the basics.

“The government and the employers have the power to stop strikes from happening by making a credible offer that can resolve this dispute. The ball is in their court.

“We have delayed calling strikes to allow the employers to meet us and to make a new offer. I hope they take that opportunity. Otherwise, in the coming weeks, we intend to announce a series of strike dates and industrial action.”

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has assured the public that any emergency where there is a risk to life or a clear sign of fire will be responded to during any strike action.

Interim deputy chief officer Stuart Stevens said: “I wholly support a pay increase for our firefighters and absolutely recognise the right of firefighters to strike.

“The FBU represents many firefighters in Scotland and, therefore, any strike action will have an impact on our emergency response.

“As a fire and rescue service, we have a legal and moral duty to provide an emergency response to the communities of Scotland, including during periods of industrial action.

“I want to assure the public that we are developing contingency plans to enact during any strike and we will respond to any emergency where there is a risk to life or a clear sign of fire.”

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