FIREFIGHTERS are set to strike for the first time in 20 years – after a row over pay.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union backed action for the first time since 2003.
3Firefighters have backed strike action for the first time since 2003Credit: Getty3They will go on a walkout after 73 backed actionCredit: PAAround 88 per cent of the 32,000 members voted to walk out, on a turnout of 73 per cent, the union said.
They say they’ve seen 12 per cent drop in real-terms earnings since 2010, with one in five jobs cut.
They were offered a 5 per cent pay rise in November, but rejected that.
The union said it was giving the Government and employers 10 days to make an improved offer before deciding its next move.
It could even mean cleaners and office staff are brought in to help respond to emergency calls.
Fire services have been training their office staff as back-up to help out during an emergency, reports say.
The chairman of the National Fire Chiefs, Mark Hardingham, said they would train “anyone else who is prepared to step forward”.
They join a whole raft of other public sector employees to stage walkouts – which includes teachers, train drivers and ambulance workers.
And 94 per cent of firefighters in Northern Ireland voted yes to strike – on a turnout of 68 per cent.
Earlier, the fire service said it could mean the army would have to be brought in to cover callouts in Northern Ireland.
In 2002, “yellow goddesses” replaced fire engines on streets there.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “Firefighters have faced a sustained attack on pay for more than a decade, with average pay falling by about £4,000 in real terms.
“Our members face hazardous situations every day and sometimes risk their health to do the job.
“Facing double-digit inflation and rocketing energy bills, they are now being told to put up with an even bigger real-terms pay cut.”
People in the control room will also walk out with them.
Polling from last November from YouGov said that 49 per cent of the public think firefighters should be allowed to strike.
41 per cent said they should be banned from such action.
3Firefighters have rejected a below-inflation pay offerCredit: Getty
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk