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Issue #1790      August 16, 2017

Police Union rally

They walked, marched, bused, cycled on their police bikes and drove in their squad cars to Parliament House on the hill in West Perth in support of their pay claim which the Labor government of Premier Mark McGowan has reneged on since coming to power in March of this year.

Prior to the last state election it was part of the then Liberal governments wages policy that all State public sector workers would receive a wage increase of 1.5% each year for two years.

When the McGowan government claimed to have discovered the extent of the financial mess inherited from the previous Liberal government of Premier Colin Barnett – who incidentally was also present at the Police rally – they decided to reduce the increase to a flat $1,000 per year over two years.

On July 11, the Police Union voted to escalate industrial action, including issuing cautions instead of infringements for minor traffic and liquor offences and to not summons offenders to court until September 7; the day of the WA State Budget. With an unfavourable response from the McGowan government the Police Union called for the rally and close to 1,000 officers in a sea of blue caps and yellow safety coats filled the forecourt in front of Parliament House in cold and wet conditions.

The Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association also sent text a text message to all of its members encouraging them to attend in solidarity and especially as there are public servants working in the Police Department who are CPSU/CSA members who would be affected by the governments position. A meeting of the delegates of the CPSU/CSA voted recently to accept the governments wages offer but are still locked in a struggle for commitments made by the ALP prior to the election on “No Privatisation” and “No Outsourcing”.

The state secretary of the Police Union George Tilbury addressed the rally, stating: “Police on the steps of parliament is not a good sign”. It was only the second time in 25 years that police had rallied at Parliament and Tilbury said for police, the governments reneging on the 1.5% amounted to a wage cut on top of which the government had recently made cuts to police overtime and increased rents for public housing in rural areas amounting up to $1,500 per annum.

The National President of the Police Federation of Australia Mark Carroll addressed the rally to say that police unions throughout Australia, “Stood shoulder to shoulder” with members in WA. The rally also passed motions of no confidence in both the government and the Premier and senior police officers added that Labor would lose the next election unless they came to the table on the demands.

(The author is a member of the CPSU/CSA)

Next article – Turnbull vs Trump: The real significance of that phone call

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