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Friday, October 13, 2006

Honesty And Integrity

I have just read the press release by the Met Fed IBB General Secretary Mark Crake regarding the governement's failure to honour the Edmund-Davies agreement on police pay rises. I have posted it below in full.

Who said Honesty & integrity were not negotiable?

The fact that the official side of the Police Negotiating Board (PNB) didn’t agree our pay rise this year and in so doing failed to honour the indexing arrangements that were negotiated and have been applied for the past 27 years, wasn’t a massive surprise for me or indeed I suspect to those who negotiate upon our behalf on the staff side. You see in a normal year, the respective sides ‘talk’ informally in advance of the formal PNB meetings but this year was different.

The Official side kept their cards very close to their chest but their silence spoke volumes. So we knew something was afoot. Now that their dastardly plans have been revealed it’s obvious why they were so reluctant to talk.

But did or do they expect us to roll over and accept their proposals meekly. I suspect not. They must have anticipated that we would eventually arrive at the current impasse and with it the need for independent arbitration. What really troubles me is their underhanded approach to a negotiating mechanism that has always achieved the desired result until now. I accept that any negotiating process is in effect a game of poker and revealing the contents of one’s hand too soon invariably results in a less favourable outcome than might have been achieved. But any game relies on the integrity of those playing and the unspoken acceptance they are doing so within the agreed rules of the game.

But this seems unlike any negotiation I have ever experienced, in that it is now revealed that one side has come to the table intent not on playing the game but on rewriting the rules of the game. Or at least the parts of the rules that don’t suit them.

Let’s be clear. Our claim, for a 3% rise this year, is by any reckoning ‘reasonable’. Indeed some would argue that it undersells us. But we were playing by the “Edmund Davies” rules and 3% was what the agreed formula told us was appropriate. So we thought we had a pretty strong hand- including a few aces! What we had failed to appreciate was that the Official side aren’t playing by the “Edmund-Davies” rules anymore where aces are high, they’re playing by a new set of rules drawn up by Mr Brown in which our aces are worthless.

But if this is to be the game in the future, wouldn’t it have been nice- some might say honest for them to have told us before we sat down. Because there are rules within the Edmund- Davies version of the game that we didn’t like and that we only tolerated because of the overall package. Rules like: Not being able by law to take part in any industrial action or being required to present ourselves for duty when ordered to do so or not having full employment rights or being accountable for our actions and inactions both on and off duty or having restrictions placed upon our private lives.

I could go on but I think the point is made. We within the police service are a special case. We accepted all the restrictions Edmund-Davies applied on the understanding that we would be compensated each September in line with the agreed formula. If that formula is to be scrapped then with it goes the whole package. The Official side cannot cherry pick.

Over the last few days I have had numerous e-mails from members who are not renowned for their militancy. Let me quote a few:

“One of our options is work to rule i.e. No more than 8 hours a day- five days a week.One job at a time. Don’t make the job work like we all do so often”

“We should all arrange to go sick on the same day”

“Please tell me what I can do immediately. I want to take action now as this is a pi** take”

“This is a disgrace the Fed must not bend on this one”

“All Inspectors must refuse to work more than 40 hours per week i.e. work to rule. This would impact seriously on the effectiveness of my borough”.

“It seems to me that the government have changed the rules of engagement. Therefore the Federation should go for the right to strike. If the gloves are off and they want a scrap lets give them one!”

“Can we march on Parliament please?”

“With the potential reduction in our rights and entitlements we should have a commensurate increase in our rights to withdraw our labour.”

“I’m polishing my sword. Point me in the direction of the enemy.”

“This is absolutely disgraceful and exploits the legal position we are in. I rely on the September increase. Power, mortgage, petrol have all gone up. The increases don’t even help us keep up with inflation.”

“The government is piling on the tax and reneging on the public sector pay deals.”

“It’s a disgrace. The MPS survives on the goodwill of its officers and that goodwill is pushed to the limit by this government, especially when you consider the events of 7/7 and 21/7 and the fantastic work of all involved and the hugely increased workload inflicted by this government. If they are not going to abide by the agreement then perhaps we shouldn’t and have the right to strike. They can’t have it both ways.”

“If it’s because we have thousands of PCSO’s on the streets that the government feels it can stall on this pay deal.”

“I’m no extremist but this U turn is treating us like dirt and particularly odious at a time when we have produced the goods in respect of community safety and counter terrorism. Is it not time that we looked at the no strike clause again?”

The MPS and I suspect the majority of other forces across the length and breadth of England and Wales are only as efficient as they are because of the goodwill of the inspecting ranks. In the past that goodwill, admittedly set against a desire for progression, has been shamelessly used and abused by chief officers.But now the game is changing. Promotion is largely a thing of the past and with it has gone the hold those chief officers had over most Inspectors and Chief inspectors. The Working Time Regulations as well as the protocols for “On-Call” working have provided our members with the teeth to bite back against the excessive demands upon their time.

If this Government honestly believes that it can impose its tawdry new pay rules upon police officers without fear of reprisals then they have gravely misjudged the mood. All the indications are that my members will no longer be giving the service any “goodwill “ hours and I would fully understand if they legitimately refuse to carry out other voluntary duties for which they receive no extra payment.

They say they were grateful for all the work done by police officers in support of the war against terror. They’ve got a funny way of showing it.

On a lighter note my Deputy Secretary for the past two years Mr Brian Rowles has announced his retirement after more than 30 years in the police service. Brian has been a stalwart of the Met Police Federation for many years and his active representation on a wide variety of issues has benefited officers of all ranks. I would like to personally & publicly thank Brian for his contribution and on behalf of the Met Inspector’s Branch Board wish him well in all his future endeavours.

Regards
Mark Crake
General Secretary
IBB

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Police 'Work To Rule' Threat
Operation Safeguard Update
Police Pay Dispute Press Release
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Police Pay Dispute
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Police Wages
Crime Does Pay
Police Officers Can't Afford Mortgages

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