How much do firefighters earn? UK average annual salary for firefighter roles - from trainees to area manager
Firefighters are set to strike in a dispute over pay
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This marks the first nationwide fire service walkout over pay since 2003. But as firefighters are threatening to take action in a pay dispute, how much do firefighters earn? Here is what you need to know.
How much do firefighters earn?
According to the FBU, the average basic annual salary for what is described as a competent wholetime firefighter is around £32,244.
Figures for 2021, from the FBU for basic annual salaries, were as follows:
- Trainee firefighter - £24,191
- Development - £25,198
- Competent - £32,244
- Development - £34,269
- Competent - £35,747
- Development - £36,521
- Competent A - £37,535
- Competent B - £39,974
- Development - £41,578
- Competent A -£42,827
- Competent B - £45,861
- Competent A - £49,323
- Competent B - £53,086
- Development - £56,220
- Competent A - £57,905
- Competent B- £61,667
For control-specific roles, the FBU said basic salaries are:
- Trainee - £22,981
- Development - £23,938
- Competent - £30,632
Crew Manager (Control)
- Development - £32,566
- Competent - £33,960
Watch Manager (Control)
- Development - £34,695
- Competent A - £35,658
- Competent B - £37,97
Station Manager (Control)
- Development - £39,499
- Competent A - £40,686
- Competent B - £43,568
Group Manager (Control)
- Development - £45,493
- Competent A - £46,857
- Competent B - £50,432
The pay grades are slightly different in London, and according to the London Fire Brigade, they are as follows:
- Trainee Firefighter- £28,730
- Development - £29,880
- Competent - £38,340 – £39,325
- Leading Firefighter - £41,842 – £42,829
- Sub Officer - £43,765 – £44,618
- Station Officer - £46,070 – £49,912
- Station Commander - £56,784 – £62,900
- Group Commander - £64,353 – £71,568
Why did firefighters ballot to strike?
The FBU said since 2010, firefighters have experienced a 12% drop in real terms earnings - which is around £4,000 a year on average. In the same period, around one in five firefighter jobs have been cut.
According to the union, the vote on industrial action comes as fresh research by the FBU and UCLan shows that firefighters with 15 years of service are 1.7 times more likely to develop cancer than those who have served less time.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: "Firefighters across the UK have spoken. The Fire Brigades Union has a decisive mandate for strike action.
"Our members risk their health and safety, and sometimes their lives, round the clock to keep people safe and serve their communities. However, with inflation and energy bills rocketing, they are now increasingly struggling to pay the bills or to afford the basics.
"The government and the employers have the power to stop strikes from happening by making a credible offer that can resolve this dispute. The ball is in their court. We have delayed calling strikes to allow the employers to meet us and to make a new offer. I hope they take that opportunity. Otherwise, in the coming weeks, we intend to announce a series of strike dates and industrial action."