Scots police urged to vote for industrial action

UNISON Scotland has urged its members working for Scotland’s police force to vote for industrial action following concerns over control room closures and changes to terms and conditions.

Unison has called for staff to back strike action. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The union has written to police staff today to tell them that trust between it and Police Scotland has broken down, and has urged members to vote for industrial action when they are balloted later this month.

Unison has highlighted three areas of concern; the proposed closure of four control rooms which take 999 calls, changes to police staff redundancy terms, and the restrictions on the annual leave of 1,700 staff due to the Commonwealth Games this summer.

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George McIrvine, secretary of Unison police staff Scotland branch, said: “Our members across Scotland are telling us loud and clear that enough is enough.

“Staff are stressed, over worked and under pressure. We will ballot them to gauge their strength of feeling on potential strike action. The employer have given us no choice.

“They are not providing the unions with answers to reasonable questions which we have consistently raised for many months now.”

Gerry Crawley, Unison regional officer, said: “The Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland need to realise that Unison members are not prepared to take the brunt of these brutal cuts any longer.

“Scottish Police Authority and the Police Scotland are simply not listening to us. Over 300 jobs are at risk in contact command and control centres. Over 1,700 staff are having their leave restricted. This has left unions no choice but to consult our members on potential strike action.”

‘Corrosive impact of reforms’

Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes said: “This unprecedented breakdown in relations is a stark reminder of the corrosive impact centralising police reforms have had on the morale of police staff.

“As Police Scotland moves towards an enforcement-led mode of policy, civilian staff are feeling increasingly undervalued.

“The Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland have clearly failed to recognise the depth of anger and frustration amongst staff. They must do all they can to rectify that now.”

Conservative justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell said police staff have faced “intolerable provocation” in their attempts to resolve many issues.

“The chief constable and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill must now take a lead in resolving this dispute, which is a mess of their own making,” she said.

“We know police officers are already covering for civilian jobs which have been lost and a strike would only take even more officers off our streets.”