A national fire service strike over pay came a little closer this morning when the Fire Brigades Union conference voted for a campaign â€œwhich, if necessary, should culminate in a ballot for industrial action up to and including strike action.â€
General secretary Matt Wrack told delegates that there had been no pay offer in 2010 or 2011. The union had submitted a pay claim in 2010 which did no more than keep pace with inflation as measured by the RPI.
â€œIf we are talking about taking on our employer we are talking about national strike actionâ€ he said. â€œA fight on pay will come when this union and its members are ready for it. A strike in the fire service is a very serious step to take and no one does it lightly.â€
But firefighters would not allow their pay to be steadily eroded, he said. â€œIn the 1970s it was hard to recruit firefighters because this was a low paid industry. We cannot and will not allow it to go back to being a low paid industry.â€