A STRIKE involving Scots firefighters is looming after an angry response to a  2% pay increase offer during the cost of living crisis.

The Fire Brigades Union in Scotland has confirmed that industrial action including strike action is on the cards after unanimous rejection of the pay offer after a consultation with members.

The 2% pay offer is part of a UK-wide pay negotiation machinery involving 49 fire and rescue services across the UK who make their decisions based on budgets set by UK Government and the devolved nations.

Fire Brigades Unions Scottish secretary John McKenzie said the offer was "insulting" when place against an inflation rate that is now over 9%, with prices rising at their fastest rate for more than 40 years.

It is the latest in a ferocious backlash from public sector workers over below-inflation pay rises.

Unions representing public sector staff including local authority workers, teachers, nurses and police officers who have been offered between 2% and 5% are preparing to fight for the similar treatment to Scotland's train drivers - despite huge cuts in public spending - with school closures already being threatened.

Yesterday an a normal ScotRail timetable made a return after two months of an emergency schedule caused by a train drivers dispute.

The train drivers union Aslef backed a 5% pay deal, which rises to nearly 10% after bonuses after negotiations with the nationalised rail operator's management.

Mr Mackenzie said: "The discussions we have had with our members is that industrial action appears inevitable. That is the direction.

"Cost inflation, is sitting at just over 9%, so two percent is insulting.

HeraldScotland:

"We had a three week consultation with our members and it has been rejected out of hand. It is miles off.

"Either the employers significantly improve the offer or we are headed towards industrial action."

The concerns over the pay offer are echoed across the UK where between 2009 and 2021, firefighters' real pay has been cut by 12%, or nearly £4,000.

He said that with firefighters in the frontline of the heatwave, they need a fair pay deal to match.

Extreme heat, wildfires and emergency situations caused by record temperatures have highlighted the dangers posed to the lives of firefighters, said Mr Mackenzie.

He added: "Firefighters are at the forefront of the climate emergency. The last few days have brought to the public’s attention the dangers we face day in day out.

"We will not accept a paltry pay offer of 2% when the cost of food, fuel, energy and almost everything else is soaring.

"Firefighters have never taken industrial action lightly but such is the level of anger at this insulting offer, industrial action is now a very serious proposition. The employers need to come back with a genuine and fair pay offer that recognises the financial pressures our members face."

Last week Scotland's health service workers were being urged to reject a 5% pay offer from the Scottish Government.

The Royal College of Nursing and Unison have both opened ballots to see if members want to reject the offer and if they would consider industrial action if a new deal cannot be reached.

Both unions argue the pay offer is a real-terms pay cut for NHS staff.

The Scottish government said the pay deal was the largest single-year increase since devolution.