Police 'in right to strike' vote
PUBLISHED: 12:00 06 October 2012
RANK and file police in Times Territory are set to decide if they want the right to strike.
Herts Police Federation will quiz their members as part of a national move but the body’s chairman told the WHT that while he understood officers’ frustration, he did not intend to strike.
Neal Alston said: “Officers feel they are treated differently because we don’t have the right to strike, so the Government can do whatever it wants to do with our working conditions and pay.
“Personally I don’t want employment rights because I want to remain a crown servant, there is a difference there.
“I would not go on strike and a lot of officers wouldn’t strike even if we had the right, but the Government can do what they want because we can’t do anything about it.
“It doesn’t happen to tube drivers because Bob Crow would have them out.”
Mr Alston will have to inform his members of the pros and cons of strike rights before and during February’s poll which will see the Police Federation ballot 135,000 members nationwide asking if they want full industrial rights.
The move follows 20 per cent budget cuts and proposals for major changes to pay and conditions.
In Herts police dog numbers have been stripped back and units are increasingly being shared with Beds and Cambs’ forces.
Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps said he commiserated with the officers, but did not think they should be able to take industrial action.
“Hertfordshire police do an incredible job protecting the public day and night and are one of the most respected institutions in the county,” he said.
“However, local residents will be concerned about the idea police might strike or move away from their historic position of never going on strike.”
When asked if the strike ballot was an indictment of the Government Mr Shapps said: “When people switch on their TV screens and see the streets of other European countries where insufficient action has been taken to tackle the deficit they appreciate what part the public service is having to take its fair share of spending reductions.
“The police can’t be immune from this, but at the same time I’m in conversation with the chief constable of Hertfordshire and he is prioritising the front line while finding more efficiencies in the back room.”