Arabnews24.ca:Tuesday 29 November 2022 06:50 AM: Firefighters will start voting on strike in the latest industrial dispute over below-inflation pay offers.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said the "historic ballot" comes after its members rejected a 5% increase to their wages.
The FBU pointed out that inflation currently stands at a record 11.1% and said firefighters and control staff need a "substantial pay increase" that reflects the cost of living crisis.
Matt Wrack, the Fire Brigades Union general secretary, said: "This is an historic ballot for firefighters and control staff. We are rarely driven to these lengths.
"Nobody wants to be in this position. After years of derisory pay increases and a pay offer that is well below inflation firefighters' and control staff's living standards are in peril."
Mr Wrack said firefighters are using foodbanks and "we know that because FBU officials have had to sign off on members going to them".
He added: "Firefighters and control staff worked throughout the pandemic and firefighters took on extra duties including moving the deceased. They have now been given a below-inflation pay offer. It is utterly disgraceful to call people 'key workers' and then treat them like this."
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Last week, the union warned it would formally issue notice of ballot if its demands were not met by Monday.
With that deadline now passed, members will have from 5 December to 30 January to vote on whether to go on strike
The FBU noted that the government has "no direct role in pay negotiations", but they do "provide a substantial amount of the funding for fire and rescue services".
It comes as the UK faces a wave of strikes this winter as workers from different industries are set to walk out over pay and conditions.
From transport to the NHS, education to delivery drivers, tens of thousands are expected to take industrial action as a recession grips the UK and the cost of living rises.