Police staff unions call on employers to reopen pay talks

Resignation of chair from the employers’ side reveals scale of the crisis in the service

The unions representing police staff on the Police Staff Council for England and Wales are calling on the employers to reopen pay talks, at the same time as making plans for industrial action if necessary.

In July, the employers decided that police staff earning over £24,000 a year would have their pay frozen for 2021/22, with those earning below that figure receiving an increase of just £250 a year.

But in last week’s autumn statement, chancellor Rishi Sunak ended the public sector pay freeze.

When the council next meets on 10 November, UNISON, the GMB and Unite will be pressing the employers to respond positively to their request for talks to resume, with the aim of reaching a negotiated pay award.

In a measure of how serious a crisis there is over police pay this year, Kim McGuinness has resigned as chair of the employers’ side of the council.

Ms McGuinness, the Labour police and crime commissioner for Northumbria, announced the move in response to what she says is the “grossly unfair” pay offer made to police staff and officers.

Her resignation is a wake-up call for the home secretary to intervene to ensure that the police workforce gets the pay rise it deserves this year, and to repair the damage to industrial relations in the service.

The trade unions hope to see an outcome from this year’s pay negotiations that enables Ms McGuinness to return to her role on the council as soon as possible.