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Date Tues 2 August 2011

UNISON lambasts police boards for ‘bully boy tactics’ and calls for negotiation not intimidation

UNISON, the union representing police staff, says police boards are employing ‘bully boy tactics’ in a bid to force civilian staff to accept a severe cut in terms and conditions.

The union has been in talks with police boards over the cuts, which are predominantly targeted at shift workers, for a number of months.

Yesterday (Monday), the official side – which includes police board conveners and representatives from the eight forces – issued a letter to staff outlining their ‘final offer’ and demanding a response by Friday, August 5.

Peter Veldon, regional organiser for UNISON, said: “To issue a letter like this while negotiations are still continuing and demanding a response in five days’ time is totally unreasonable and can only be described as ‘bully boy tactics’.

“The cuts outlined by the police boards would have a massive impact on our members and, while we’re willing to negotiate, the proposals put forward so far – which would see more than a third of staff having their pay chopped – have been completely unrealistic.

“Police boards are under pressure from the SNP Government to artificially maintain police numbers and, as such, the cuts are falling entirely on civilian staff. This is not only unfair, but it will have a huge impact on frontline policing as officers are taken off the streets to perform the roles of civilian staff at a huge additional cost to the taxpayer.

“We’re keen to seek a resolution with police boards but this must be done through negotiation, not intimidation.”

The union has also been critical of the police board’s attempt to make these swingeing cuts before any decision has been made on the future structure of police boards, which is expected to be made next month.

Raymond Brown, chair of UNISON’s police branch, said: “The vast majority of shift workers earn under £21,000, most of whom are low-paid female workers, and to cut their allowances by up to 12 per cent will have a massive impact. For some, it will be the difference between being able to pay the mortgage at the end of the month or not.

“Police support staff are being attacked from all angles – they’re axing our jobs, they’re taking police officers off the street to backfill our roles and now they are planning to decimate our terms and conditions. “It’s unfair to target workers this way and we’ll continue to fight to defend our members’ terms and conditions.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. Police support staff work in a variety of roles from 999 call handlers to forensic technicians and detention officers to crime and incident advisors – all play a vital role in tackling crime.

2. A recent report by Audit Scotland warned of the impact of cutting police staff and back-filling roles with police officers. The report described the process as ‘reverse civilianisation’ and warned it could divert resources away from frontline policing. You can view the report here: www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/about/docs/AC.2011.6.9-Strathclyde_police_BV.pdf

3. For further information contact Peter Veldon, regional organiser for UNISON, on 07904 342 285 or Raymond Brown on 07050 200 504.. Or log on to www.unison-scotland.org.uk

For further information www.unison-edinburgh.org.uk/citynotforsale

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