Union flags concerns on pay deal for Scotland firefighters

The job of a firefighter in Scotland could be set for significant change under a new pay offer. Picture: TSPL
The job of a firefighter in Scotland could be set for significant change under a new pay offer. Picture: TSPL
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MSPs have raised concerns about the way a pay offer was put to Scotland’s firefighters.

It emerged yesterday the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) had offered staff a 20 per cent pay rise if they agree to take on new responsibilities.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has criticised the service for writing directly to its members with the proposed deal.

Labour MSP Daniel Johnson said national pay and bargaining mechanisms had “effectively been bypassed” by FBU not receiving prior sight of the details.

Green MSP John Finnie said he “would have been raging if the employer had bypassed agreed procedures”.

He called on community safety minister Annabelle Ewing to send a message to public-sector employers by directing the SFRS to adhere to collective bargaining procedures.

Ms Ewing told the Holyrood chamber: “I was concerned to note that due process had not been followed.

“However, I was also very encouraged at the same time to note the FBU’s willingness nonetheless to engage in discussion with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, and that is right and proper.

“The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have confirmed that formal negotiations will be conducted through agreed collective bargaining arrangements.”

Reports have suggested between 200 and 300 jobs could be lost as part of the deal.

Extra responsibilities needed to be taken on by firefighters under the agreement would include tackling terrorism.

Conservative MSP Liam Kerr said the public would have “legitimate concerns” about the move being “cuts by the back door”.

Ms Ewing emphasised there would be no compulsory redundancies under the proposals but that operational detail was a matter for the SFRS to discuss with the FBU.

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