Police staff in London set to strike on New Year’s Eve
Planned strike in protest at below-inflation pay rise would coincide with a walkout by London firefighters.
Thousands of police civilian staff in London – including 999 call handlers – are set to strike on New Year’s Eve, the PCS union has said.
The planned strike in the capital would coincide with a walkout by London firefighters and could result in around 7,500 civilian workers taking action on one of the busiest days of the year.
The strike was planned after a below-inflation 1% rise was imposed by the Metropolitan police last month.
Police and community support officers, 999 call handlers, detention officers in custody suites, and a range of administration and professional support staff are among those who would take action.
Kim Hendry of the PCS said: “Police staff feel undervalued and underpaid. We have members forced to take second jobs, or use payday loans, just to keep afloat.
“Our demands are entirely reasonable – last year the Met saved over £50m on the police staff budget due to job cuts.
“Just some of that money should be used to fund a decent pay rise, and they are calling on the commissioner and the deputy mayor to demonstrate that they genuinely value the hard work and commitment of police staff.”
The Met has already cancelled leave for police officers and is making contingency plans.
The PCS said the strike was voted for by almost three to one, though the Metropolitan police service (MPS) put the figure at one in 12 police staff voting for strike action.
The Metropolitan police described the 1% pay rise as “at the ceiling of the government’s public sector pay policy and the pay increase was given without any strings attached to it”.
It claimed the PCS’s demands include a pay increase of up to 6%.
A Metropolitan police spokesman said: “The PCS has now informed the MPS that they intend to take strike action on New Year’s Eve – one of the days when demand for our services is highest.
“We have tried-and-tested business continuity plans for all eventualities, including industrial action. These ensure that critical functions performed by police staff are performed by police officers who are fully trained in those roles.
“To ensure we are able to implement these plans, we stopped granting any further requests for annual leave or days off for officers and staff in a number of key areas for New Year’s Eve in mid-December.
“In some cases we’ve also had to take the very difficult decision to cancel planned days off for officers with certain critical skills or in critical operational areas.
“These are clearly all steps we’d rather not take, but we have to be prepared to maintain critical operational areas in the event of a strike action by police staff, and we are confident that we have appropriate plans in place.”