28 June 2023
Derbyshire Police Federation has repeated its 17 per cent pay claim after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issued a warning over public sector increases.
Branch chair Tony Wetton said it was outrageous to suggest that Police Federation members should have to take yet another financial hit as part of the Government’s strategy to tackle inflation after two decades of decline in police pay.
He said: “What a kick in the teeth that would be for hardworking, dedicated police officers who are relying on a fair pay rise to make ends meet.
“We have consistently seen that police officers always come off worse when annual pay settlements are announced - and the reason for that is our weak negotiating position due to the lack of industrial and employment rights.
“It is completely unfair and the balance has to be redressed. The Prime Minister can take to the Bank the fact that police officers ‘may not like’ any decision not to award a fair pay award this year of all years.
“They will be furious if the rigged Pay Review Body system is seen to be abused again by the Government, namely the Home Office and the Treasury. It is for this very reason that the Police Federation decided to ballot all of its members to find out if they think that now is the right time to seek industrial rights.”
Tony Wetton said members should not have to 'take another hit'
Tony said it was within the Government’s power to start on the road to treating police officers fairly for the unique role they perform for the public.
“They must now start mending the relationship with our members who understandably feel that politicians only listen to workers who can exercise those rights,” he said.
“The police service is the poor relation when it comes to public sector pay awards because we cannot take the industrial action which has been so effective for other sectors - and that has to change.
“The Government needs to faithfully abide by the agreement to treat officers fairly in consideration of that lack of ability to effectively influence negotiations. Or they should grant those rights to enable them to make their case for fairness.
Tony’s comments came after Mr Sunak said he would not shy away from making decisions “people may not like” after vowing to halve inflation by the end of the year.
He said inflation was “higher than we’d like” and insisted it was important to “make the right and responsible decisions on things like public sector pay”.
And he refused to commit to accepting recommendations for public sector pay rises as part of the Government’s bid to calm the rate of rising prices.
Pay review body recommendations are not legally binding on the Government and, although they are typically accepted, ministers can choose to reject or partially ignore the advice.
This would be a controversial move after the Government defended last year’s below-inflation pay rises by saying it had followed the bodies’ advice.
The Police Federation withdrew its support for the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) and branded it unfit for purpose after the 2021 pay freeze.
Tony said: “The irony of this is not lost on our members. We were criticised when we rejected the outcome of the PRRB process two years ago. It now seems that the Government is considering rejecting the recommendations of that body when it suits it to do so. Police officers will be rightly outraged if that turns out to be the case.
“We have asked for a 17 per cent pay rise this year and that would just about bring us back into line with colleagues in the other emergency services.
“If you take into account the cost of living crisis, high inflation and soaring mortgage rates combined with 20 years of real-terms pay cuts then that figure is completely reasonable.
“We reject the suggestion that police pay must be pegged back to help the Government meet its inflation targets.”