Friday, 26 August 2011

September Strikes Set To Hit Notts Police



By Ben Aulakh

A series of strikes and industrial action is set to hit Nottinghamshire police in late August and early September.

Police staff have voted to strike on August 30 and September 2; alongside a work to rule from August 31 onwards.

Public Services union Unison is in dispute with the force over its restructuring, which has so far resulted in 20 officers being made redundant.

However Nottinghamshire Police say the changes are necessary to reshape the force and transform the service it provides, alongside making more than £40 million in savings by 2015. 

Unison object to the manner of the force’s organisational restructure, and is demanding a policy used by managers to comply with legislation and implement changes fairly and effectively, is re-negotiated.

However, as the policy was agreed to by the union in October last year the force says that it is unfair to amend the reform process part way through.

Assistant Chief Constable Ian Ackerley said: “We are extremely disappointed it has come to this as we believe industrial action will not benefit police staff, the organisation or ultimately, the public of Nottinghamshire.

“Unison members have a choice over whether they take part in action and we hope they will recognise that the restructure the force has embarked upon is necessary, if we are to meet substantially reduced budgets and become the best performing force in the country.”

ACC Ackerley also argues that that a relatively small number of job losses have resulted from more than 350 staff having gone through the restructuring process, with 150 officers having left through voluntary redundancy.

Regional Unison organiser Roger Young said, “It is with great regret that we have found it necessary to implement strike action; throughout this dispute we had genuinely believed that force management would eventually listen to our submissions.

“However there is still time for Nottinghamshire police to be reasonable and avoid this action by their staff, and the disruption to services and inconvenience which this will cause.”

He added, “This dispute is not about the need to make the budget cuts placed upon the force – or indeed making people redundant – it is how the employer is seeking to achieve those job losses, and current procedure which our legal advice confirms is flawed.”

However ACC Ackerley disagrees with this assertion, saying “The processes we have adopted is fit for purpose and legally compliant, though we accept there are some elements which would benefit from greater clarity.

Contingency plans have been prepared to ensure the force continues to provide an effective service during the industrial action.


Photograph from www.independent.co.uk

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