Police Support Staff Strike Threat On New Years Eve

Calls to 999 could be affected as MPS reassure public

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The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has said it will take all necessary steps to keep essential services running despite a threatened strike by police support staff who are members of the Public Commercial Services (PCS) Union. The union is taking industrial action on New Year's Eve in support of a pay demand.

The strike coincides with a walkout by London firefighters, and the PCS will be discussing co-ordinating action with the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

If the strike goes ahead then around 7,500 civilian workers in the London police force will be asked to take action. These include:

  • police and community support officers
  • 999 call handlers
  • detention officers in custody suites 
  • a range of admin and professional support staff 

The action is in protest against a 1% pay rise offer to all police staff last Novenber which the PCS has rejected in favour of a claim for a 6% pay increase. Union officials met before Christmas (20 Dec) to discuss the way forward and said they were calling out members as a last resort.

The MPS says it is "simply unable to meet this demand" for a pay increase.

In a statement, the MPS said: "We want to reassure Londoners that the MPS has taken the necessary steps to ensure that in the event of strike action, our essential services to London will continue."

It has cancelled police annual leave and days off for staff in key areas for New Year's Eve.

There are over 14,000 members of police staff in the MPS. The MPS says that only around 20% of PCS members took part in the vote and 1,150 people voted for strike action, accounting for 1 in 12 police staff members in the MPS.

The statement from MPS continued; "We have tried and tested business continuity plans for all eventualities, including industrial action. These ensure that critical functions performed by police staff are performed by police officers who are fully trained in those roles.

"To ensure we are able to implement these plans, we stopped granting any further requests for annual leave or days off for officers and staff in a number of key areas for New Year's Eve in mid-December. In some cases we've also had to take the very difficult decision to cancel planned days off for officers with certain critical skills or in critical operational areas.

"These are clearly all steps we'd rather not take, but we have to be prepared to maintain critical operational areas in the event of a strike action by police staff, and we are confident that we have appropriate plans in place."

The union says it is writing to the Met to discuss a way forward and remained ready to discuss pay if a significantly improved offer was received.

December 28, 2013