While the focus remains on a negotiated settlement, it is looking increasingly likely that arbitration will be required to settle the constabulary pay round. If that happens, we will have to discuss with Police employees the options open to them, which include the possibility of industrial action.
Feedback to the Police Association from members includes their frustration that the Police pay offer does not reflect the good work and risks associated with policing during Covid-19 and other emergency response work.
There is a sense of outrage that the Government can prioritise money for a cycle bridge, while members of Police are worrying about making ends meet in the face of inflation and increases in rates, water costs, food bills and mortgages.
Members are adamant that those earning more than $100,000 must have a pay rise and that the two-hour toil rule should be removed, but with no changes to leave accumulation limits or the ability to cash up toil.
They would also like to see an increase in shift incentives and a reduction in the number of steps in pay bands. Many would consider a combination of extra band movement with a smaller general wage increase.
Most members recognise the need to prioritise increases for those on lower salaries, but not to the extent that higher earners get nothing. Many higher earners have lower household incomes and are just as vulnerable to overall cost increases and inflationary pressures.
Here’s a snapshot of the responses received.
"How demoralising for us and incredibly disrespectful the police are to their over worked and under-resourced staff."
"Why do we have 20 pay steps? This needs to be halved."
"I hate to say it, but we need the right to strike."
"I have never felt so undervalued in my life."
"It is clear the Government and the Commissioner aren’t reading the room."
"Where is the incentive to seek promotion, take on extra responsibility, lead our people?"
"The old ‘we don’t do it for the money’ is wearing thin in an increasingly expensive NZ."
"It is extremely difficult to accept that it is now the employees of the Government who are expected to bear the brunt of the economic cost of the pandemic."
"The toughest 36 months of my life, terrorist, pursuits, colleague killed, PTSD… and they continue to kick us when we try to get up."
"Insulting and offensive."