Police staff in Wales and England are voting this week on whether to accept a UK government pay offer.
The government wants to freeze pay for the majority of police staff, whilst lower earners on salaries of up to £24,000, will receive just £250.
The pay consultation for UNISON police staff members opened on Monday (9 August) and will run until 6 September.
UNISON described the offer as ‘insulting’ which does not reward the hard work of police staff during the pandemic or make up for a decade of poor pay awards which have squeezed living standards. The value of all police staff pay rises over the last ten years has been 12.2 per cent whilst the cost of living has risen by 27.6 per cent.
With the Retail Price Index measure of inflation – the rate most commonly used to apply pay awards, at 3.9 per cent, UNISON says police staff pay is going backwards.
UNISON says a majority vote by police staff against the award may trigger a ballot for industrial action.
Ben Priestley, UNISON UK national officer for the police, said,
“The Home Secretary thanked police staff for their work during lockdown, but thanks alone will not pay the bills. Police staff are angry and UNISON is determined to secure them a better pay deal.
“This is a cruel and unnecessary government pay freeze. There is no reward for staff keeping communities safe during the pandemic and the risks staff took coming to work during the lockdowns.”
Joanne Everson, vice-chair of UNISON Cymru Wales Police and Justice, said,
“Police staff have been fundamental in enabling our front-line services to continue to keep our communities safe and informed over the last 16 months.
“The nature of their roles, often working in urgent life-threatening situations where social distancing is impossible, placed staff at greater risk of exposure, potentially taking the virus home to their loved ones.
“Their commitment and sacrifices have not been acknowledged in the recent pay freeze announcement by the government.
“Across the country, the public have taken time to appreciate the pivotal role police and other emergency and care services played bringing the pandemic under control. This announcement undermines the work done by police staff and places additional financial pressure on us.
“Over the last ten years, living costs have jumped twice as much as our pay awards. Something needs to change, or it will just continue.
“UNISON is asking members in Wales and England to send a strong message to the UK government by rejecting this pay freeze.”
Notes for editors
- All UNISON police staff members in England and Wales are invited to vote on whether to reject, or accept, the pay freeze.
- The vote opened on Monday 9 August and closes on Monday 6 September
- This is not an industrial action ballot, and those voting will not be asked to undertake any action as a consequence of this vote. The result will be indicative only and a further industrial action ballot would be needed before UNISON members were called out.
Alastair Gittins, UNISON Cymru Wales press officer 07816 53 83 97