‘Not respectful’: police officers to strike over pay

Victoria Police will take industrial action after pay and conditions negotiations were not met by the State government. Picture: ON FILE. 245950_04

By William Ton, AAP

Thousands of police and protective service officers will go on strike after protracted negotiations over pay and conditions with Victoria Police broke down.

The union and the police force have been locked in a five month negotiation over a new enterprise agreement with a four per cent pay rise and better working conditions, such as nine hour shifts central to workers’ demands.

The previous agreement was struck in 2019 and is set to expire on Thursday.

Up to 18,000 officers across Victoria will undertake 19 simultaneous bans from 7am on Sunday after their requests could not be met, Police Association secretary Wayne Gatt said on Tuesday.

“This is action we’re being driven to by failure by the government to deal properly and respectfully with its police and protective service officers,” he said.

As part of the actions, members could place indefinite bans on working beyond ordinary rostered hours without claiming overtime.

Police will slow drivers down in locations near speed cameras with the aim of reducing government revenue from fines.

“If you hit the bottom line of my members pay pockets, we will hit yours and you’ll see that from Sunday,” Mr Gatt said.

Officers will engage in a public campaign with messages of members’ concerns scrawled on police cars, boats, trucks and helicopters parked in the vicinity of government premises.

Government officials will also stop receiving briefings and reports under the action.

Mr Gatt brushed away the constraints of a three per cent pay rise under the state’s wage cap policy, calling on Premier Jacinta Allan and Police Minister Anthony Carbines to come to the bargaining table to resolve the issue.

“Here you have a situation where you’re trying to engage in enterprise bargaining with an employer who are passing you notes under the table from the Victorian Government,” he said.

“That’s not fair. That’s not reasonable. And that’s not respectful.

“It’s time to get involved, and it’s time to help us sort this issue out.”

Ms Allan indicated the government would not intervene to break the deadlock.

“My expectation is that those charged with the responsibility of the negotiations get the job done,” she said on Tuesday.

“That they work these issues through at the negotiating table and see that these issues are resolved.”

Despite the strikes, the union maintains there is no risk to public safety.

“You’ll see more of our members. They’ll be more visible than ever before, and we’ll probably replicate what you should see each and every day in Victoria,” Mr Gatt said.

Victoria Police remain confident of reaching an agreement with the union as they continue to negotiate in good faith, a spokeswoman said.

“The community can be assured frontline policing services will continue to be provided when industrial action commences,” she said.