Police take never-before-seen industrial action

Published by the Sunday Herald Sun on 15 December 2019

Victoria Police is set to ramp up its pay war from Monday as officers publicly share their fury with the state government. Here’s what you can expect to see.

Police demanding better pay will declare “You don’t call a pollie when you’re in danger” in messages scrawled on hundreds of patrol cars in an unprecedented move.

The industrial action – to start Monday if there’s no breakthrough in the police pay war – will also see officers flash their emergency lights near speed cameras and help children cross the road.

A thousand chalk-based pens have been circulated to “undervalued” police who will daub their cars in political messages for the first time ever.

The Sunday Herald Sun can reveal the messages will also tell the public “Fighting crime doesn’t pay” and “Merry Christmas from your undervalued police”.

One proclaims: “Fair Cop: Our police deserve a decent pay rise” and another “Pollies 11%, Police 2% … makes no sense!”.

A further suggested message, similar to those paramedics plastered on ambulances during their pay battle, says: “Kicked, punched, spat at. Not for 2%!”.

Police Association Victoria Secretary Wayne Gatt said: “This action will start tomorrow and it won’t stop until our members are treated fairly.”

“They’re angry, and we’re frustrated and as of tomorrow they’ll tell the government exactly that on the windows of their vehicles,’’ Mr Gatt said.

“Every time you see ‘flashing blue and reds’ near a speed camera, a message on a police vehicle, a police officer helping schoolchildren across the road, you’ll be reminded that the government doesn’t value your police.’’

The Sunday Herald Sun in August revealed the police union wants an annual 4 per cent pay rise for its 17,000 members.

The State Government has only offered 2 per cent a year.

Industrial action will also include posters in public view at police stations and protective services officers handing out leaflets to commuters at train stations outlining their pay plight.

Messages will be included on officers’ email signatures.

Formal pay talks were held on Friday with hopes there may be further discussion towards a resolution this weekend.

A government spokeswoman 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.”

Victoria Police spokeswoman Beck Angel said while there had been significant progress in reaching a deal the force had been planning for potential industrial action as there were “still a few items to work through”.

“The community can be reassured that frontline policing services will continue to be provided and will not be impacted by the planned action,’’ Ms Angel said.

SUGGESTED MESSAGES TO BE SCRAWLED ON POLICE CARS

“Kicked, punched, spat at. Not for 2%!”

“You don’t call a pollie when you’re in danger”

“Fighting crime doesn’t pay”

“Fair Cop: Our police deserve a decent pay rise”

“Pollies 11%, Police 2%...makes no sense!”

“Merry Christmas from your undervalued police”

“We give 100%, but offered just 2%”