West Midlands Fire Service to become a Living Wage employer

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West Midlands Fire Service to become a Living Wage employer

Members at West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) look set to be paid at least ‘The Living Wage’, if the move is approved by members of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority (WMFRA).

UNISON began negotiations with the brigade in late 2014 and a report is being presented at a meeting of the WMFRA on Monday 13 April recommending that the service adopt the living wage from 1 April 2015.   

This will mean the wages of 62 WMFS staff will rise to the level of The Living Wage, which is currently £7.85 an hour outside of London.

Tony Rabaiotti, UNISON West Midlands Regional Manager said:

“This is a huge step forward for West Midlands Fire and Rescue service and they should be congratulated for taking this step. Receiving living wage gives employees the chance to earn an amount of money that covers the basic cost of living.

The move to implement the living wage clearly shows that they, along with many organisations both public and private, are beginning to see that the minimum wage is not enough for our members to live on.  More employers across the West Midlands need to follow WMFS’s lead and ensure that hard working staff are paid properly for the work they do”

Vic Mallabar, WMFS’s UNISON Branch Secretary, added:

“We welcome this positive response to our requests for our lowest paid staff to be lifted up to the living wage threshold. We recognise the difficulties faced by West Midlands Fire Service, but are proud that the management and Fire Authority have supported our lowest paid staff. We congratulate the service on becoming a living wage employer.” 

Councillor John Edwards, Chair of WMFRA, said:

“Even in difficult financial times, I’m pleased that we are working with UNISON, one of our key trade unions, to address the issue of low pay amongst some of our predominantly female members of staff.

“The Living Wage is not a huge amount but it at least recognises that the scourge of low pay has to be addressed in our country. We value everyone who works for us and I’m proud that West Midlands Fire Service is taking this step.”


Notes to editors

• The report going to The WMFRA on the 13th can be found at

• A list of Living wage employers is available at


Contact details:
Simon Holder, Area Organiser (Campaigns and Communications)
Email – s.holder@unison.co.uk
Direct Line - 0121 685 3105
Mobile 07946555174

Ravi Subramanian, UNISON West Midlands Regional Secretary
Email - r.subramanian@unison.co.uk
Direct Line - 0121 685 3170
Mobile- 0790 434 3342