Firefighters meagre pay rise offer slammed as 'insulting' days after crews heroically tackle two major blazes in Milton Keynes

Just days after MK fire crews saved lived by tacking two huge blazes, their 2% pay rise offer has been blasted as insulting and disgraceful.

By Sally Murrer
Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 2:58 pm

Today MK Labour councillors and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) joined forced to demand the government to increase funding for fire and rescue services so they can up the proposed pay rise.

They say the 2% would leave firefighters and their families worse off, with inflation sitting at 9.4%.

The move follows more than a decade of pay cuts to the firefighters’ take-home pay. Between 2009 and 2021, their real pay has been cut by nearly £4,000 (12%), says the FBU.

Fire crews have had to deal with two major incidents in MK this month

Over the past couple of weeks alone, fire crews in MK have had to contend with two major incidents - a fire at Waitrose warehouse and a massive blaze on Walnut Tree that destroyed a children’s’ nursery and three houses.

On both occasions the crews’ swift action and expertise saved lives and prevented the flames from spreading even further.

The Fire Brigades Union, which represents firefighters across the country, has rejected the 2% pay award, which comes as teachers and the police will get an award of at least 5%.

Labour’s Councillor Emily Darlington, who also sits on the Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority, said: “The Conservative’s cost-of-living crisis has seen inflation hit a 40-year high, meaning this abysmal 2% pay offer will leave firefighters and their families out of pocket. It’s despicable that those who save lives daily have lost over £4,000 due to government-imposed reductions in real wages, and the cost-of-living crisis is only expected to get worse.

“Last week’s devastating fires across the country highlighted the vital role that firefighters play in keeping us all safe, and they deserve a pay award that reflects this. The government should review their funding for fire authorities immediately to ensure firefighters get a pay award that they deserve.”

Chris Wycherley, the Fire Brigades Union brigade secretary for Buckinghamshire, said: “A 2% pay offer is actually a 7% pay cut when inflation’s taken into account. That’s an absolutely disgraceful way to treat our members, who risk their health and often their lives to save others.”