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Police staff could strike over 1% pay rise offer

Police staffPolice staff across the country could strike unless they are awarded a three per cent pay rise or £500 – whichever is greater.

UNISON is to consult its members on the move later this month after employers offered a one per cent pay rise.

This matches the amount offered to police officers, which was accepted, and a one per cent rise for bobbies begins on 1 September.

The one per cent rise for police officers was “in keeping with the continued public sector pay restraint”, according to Ian Rennie, who was Staff Side secretary of the Police Negotiating Board at the time of the agreement.

The recommendation for the walk out from UNISON, if accepted, will have a huge impact on police forces as the union represents most police staff members – apart from those at the Met.

Call handlers, support workers and community support workers could all walk out if industrial action is agreed to.

There were 64,097 police staff in the 43 police forces on 31 March 2014.

The UNISON pay consultation ballot will take place between 20 August and 9 September and will be organised by local branches.

UNISON is recommending a vote to reject the one per cent offer and a move to a formal industrial action ballot in support of the joint union claim for a three per cent, or £500, pay rise.

Rejecting the claim would not commit members to industrial action at this stage – any action would only follow a separate formal ballot, according to Unison.

Ben Priestley, national officer for police staff, told members: “It is really important that you vote in the ballot. We need to show the employers just how strongly our members feel about their pay and how badly you have been hit in the pocket in recent years.

“Now is the time to speak up.”

Staff from Metropolitan Police, who are represented by PCS – The Public and Commercial Sectors Union – went on strike last month.

The union warned at the time that the country would see more walk-outs by police staff as the government’s policing austerity programme forces pay to be capped below inflation.

Kim Hendry, full-time officer with PCS, said that strike action was a last resort for low-paid members, who are suffering a pay cut in real terms due to inflation.

She warned: “We’re going to take more action, it’s going to be very carefully thought through. The government is worried but it is not listening.”

Date posted: August 14, 2014

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