20 May 2022
At National Conference this week, PFEW delegates voted to increase Federation Subscriptions late this year. That rise will be a percentage rise in line with any annual pay award received later this year. With a 2% pay rise, that would be a rise in Subs of approx 40p per month.
I understand that this decision will be unpopular with some members. It was a difficult decision to make, and it is only right that I explain why I voted in favour of that rise. For me, it was a matter of balancing the sustainability and future of the Federation with the desire to protect colleagues from the ever-increasing effects of the cost of living crisis.
I am all too aware of the financial challenges facing officers at the moment. I see it in a decade's worth of pay erosion by this government. I see it in the requests for financial assistance from officers of all lengths of service that come to me every week. I see it in my own utility bills and wage slip every month. The last thing that I, or any other Federation Representative, wants to do is add to that financial burden. This is why at Conference, and going forward, the Federation will continue to pressure the Home Secretary for a return to the pay and conditions that our members deserve.
At the same time, I have a responsibility to ensure that the Federation, and the support it provides officers, is still here tomorrow and for years to come. The Federation faces its own financial pressures, not least from the effects of inflation on its running costs, but also from significant one-off risks involving litigation and the ongoing effects of the 2019 cyberattack on its systems. To me, it is vitally important that the Federation is financially secure and able to continue to meet, in particular, the significant legal costs it faces each year to represent and protect members going through criminal and misconduct matters.
This is not just about the National Federation, or Leatherhead HQ, but also about securing the future of local Force branches that do so much essential work every day to help support our colleagues.
That, primarily, is why I believe it was the pragmatic, responsible and correct decision to vote for this small rise in Federation Subscriptions. A rise that, being linked only to any pay rise, will not cause any real term loss to our members. It would have been easy, and popular, to simply vote for no increase. But, as is often the case, the easy choice is not always the right choice.
This is something we have discussed and debated at length in Branch, and indeed as a Region, and all Gloucestershire delegates at Conferences were free to vote as they wished, and indeed the voting was not unanimously in favour of a rise, even between us. That is as it should be and reflects the difficult and contentious nature of the vote.
With this decision of course comes a responsibility to ensure that the Federation is using its funds as effectively and efficiently as possible, and that we seek to make cuts to our costs where we can, whilst continuing to maintain or improve the level of service we provide to members. I have already spoken to the National Treasurer and Deputy National Treasurer about how we as a National Federation Council can do that, and how we as Branches can further support that work so that the sacrifice of our members is not one-sided.