Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

PSNI to seek strike advice over pay row

PSNI officers could mount strike action over their ongoing pay dispute, it emerged yesterday.

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland, which is to ballot its 9,500 members on whether to seek legal advice on industrial action, has also called on Secretary of State Shaun Woodward to resign over the issue.

It is illegal for UK police officers to strike, but the federation could challenge this position if members back the vote.

Officers in Northern Ireland, England and Wales are angry that their planned 2.5% wage increase will only be backdated to December 1 rather than September 1, when it was originally due to come into effect.

They claim the rise now only amounts to 1.9% in real terms.

The Government has insisted this is in line with predicted inflation rates.

The federation will now survey its members to establish whether they want to acquire the legal right of access to industrial action.

It also passed a vote of no confidence in Mr Woodward and in Home Secretary Jacqui Smith at a meeting of its Central Committee. The committee called on both Labour MPs to resign.

The move supports the stance adopted by the UK federated police officers yesterday.

NI Federation chair Terry Spence said officers felt betrayed.

"The existing negotiating machinery has been simply discarded and the decision of the Police Arbitration Tribunal set aside by the Home Secretary," he said.

"This dispute is not only about the failure to implement the arbitration agreement but the need to have a system of pay and conditions which can command the trust of the police service.

"It is heartening that the other police representative bodies such as the Superintendents Association and ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) as well as the Policing Board support our sense of grievance."

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