Police industrial action days away as pay talks with Andrews Government stop

Broadcast by Herald Sun on 7 December 2019.

The police union is preparing for its most significant industrial action in almost a decade as pay talks grind to a halt. Here are the ways it could affect you.

Mass police industrial action could start within days as pay talks with the state government come to a grinding halt. 

The powerful police union is preparing for its most significant workplace action in almost a decade as the Andrews government refuses to budge on its “insulting” two per cent wage offer.

Police Association Secretary Wayne Gatt told the Herald Sun “talks have stopped” and soon so will normal police duties if a fair deal is not made.
“It comes down to how much this government values its police,” he said.

“Two per cent is insulting, our members know they’re worth more, the community knows they’re worth more and until the government places an appropriate value on their work, there will be a fight.”

Ballots sent to the state’s 17, 200 unionised officers are due back early next week and will determine what industrial action will be taken ahead of the state’s busiest policing period.

Action could begin as early as Monday week and could include a stop on issuing speeding fines, rallying at state parliament or refusal to appear as informants or witnesses in court.

Police could also refuse to work overtime without prior approval, place cardboard cut outs in stations to represent staff shortages or help school kids cross the road if they are not required at an incident.

It’s the first time police have undertaken industrial action since 2011.

Mr Gatt said it is not what police want but they are being forced to fight for what is fair.

He added it was not a good look for the government to take a well-paid summer break while refusing to pay to match the demanding workloads faced by police.

“The government is off enjoying its summer break. How nice. They’ve got extra cash this year to really enjoy themselves,” said Mr Gatt.

“Our members have neither the time off, nor the pay increase to look forward to over Christmas. They’ll be here, doing their job to protect the community over the busiest time of the year. Again.”

The Andrews government offer falls well short of the four per cent annual pay rise that officers want.

A statement government spokesperson said: “We are continuing to work with police on a fair and responsible enterprise bargaining agreement that reflects the work our police do for our community.”

 

By Aneeka Simonis
Herald Sun