FIREFIGHTERS across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight have branded a two per cent pay offer an 'insult' and warned they could go on strike.

Between 2009 and 2021, firefighters’ real pay has been cut by 12 per cent, or nearly £4,000, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said.

The FBU is recommending its members at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service reject the offer.

Dave Hunt, Brigade Chair for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Fire Brigades Union, said:  "Firefighters have faced pay restraint for 12 years since the economic crisis with pay caps and below inflation pay awards year on year since 2009."

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He said: "Today's two per cent offer, with a backdrop of 9.6 per cent inflation and a cost of living crisis, is an insult to firefighters who stepped above and beyond during the Global pandemic. They have sacrificed enough and deserve far better."

He said the offer is "nothing short of an insult".

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack added: "It is galling to be insulted in this way, especially after our contribution to public safety during the pandemic.

“Firefighters will now inevitably begin to discuss reactions, including industrial action.

“The Fire Brigades Union and our members do not consider or take industrial action lightly or without ensuring that all efforts to resolve the issue have been exhausted.

“To that end, we will be writing to the national fire employers to inform them of the anger and frustration their proposal will create."

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He added: “We will be writing shortly to the ministers and/or government departments responsible for fire and rescue services in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland to seek urgent additional funding to enable fire and rescue employers to make a reasonable offer.

“Our members will now begin to discuss this offer and the executive council will reconvene shortly to discuss our next steps.

“We will now consider all options, including strike action.”