7 News - Vic police threaten industrial action
Police officers fighting for a pay rise have flagged industrial action after the Victorian government failed to meet their demands.
But the police union insists any action will not compromise community safety. Instead they have set their sights on non-emergency jobs.
The Police Association of Victoria has been negotiating a new enterprise bargaining deal for the past five months, ahead of the current agreement's expiry at the end of November.
But the government is refusing to budge on its offer of a two per cent pay rise, falling well short of the four per cent officers want.
Union delegates from across the state met in Melbourne on Thursday and decided to take industrial action.
"They said in very categoric terms, this is not action that they want to take, it's not something they enjoy doing," Police Association Secretary Wayne Gatt told AAP after the meeting.
"We're at the 11th hour, let's not wait until we get to midnight and wonder what went wrong."
The union will make an application to Fair Work in the coming days to take industrial action in early December, once the current agreement ends.
Mr Gatt said officers would focus their efforts on performing fewer revenue-raising activities. That way they wouldn't compromise community safety.
"Rather than spending time on statistical analysis for the government, for example, we may consider assisting children across the road," he said, without nominating specific tasks that would be skipped.
"We might consider action that puts us more out there in the community proactively, where we should be now."
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he was confident the union and force could reach an agreement that properly rewards police while leaving enough cash in the budget to employ more of them and ensure they are well-resourced.
"We are making very good progress in relation to their enterprise bargain," he told reporters on Thursday.
Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien said the leader needed to explain why police should get a weaker pay rise than him, with the premier's pay set to inflate by almost 12 per cent in the coming year.
"It's very hard to say that police don't earn every single cent that they get," Mr O'Brien told reporters.
Police officers are also seeking changes to the force's rostering system that allows them to recuperate better, minimum staffing at police stations and a better career structure for Protective Service Officers.