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February 23rd 2009

Circular 05/09

Fight for police officer on-call allowance set to go to arbitration

Four years after a claim for an on-call allowance was first tabled by the Staff Side of the Police Negotiating Board a stalemate has been reached. A failure to agree has been registered and the Staff Side claim will now be referred the independent Police Arbitration Tribunal.

Over the last two years attention has focussed mainly on the fight for fair pay. However, at the point of agreement of the three-year pay settlement the Home Secretary indicated that she and the Official Side would look more favourably on the Staff Side claim for an on-call allowance, particularly as some forces already recognise and compensate a requirement for on-call by way of a Special Priority or Bonus Payment and this money could be redistributed to fund a specific on-call allowance.

Regrettably a series of working groups where on-call was discussed failed to move the matter forward with the Official Side failing to acknowledge that it should be a nationally agreed payment reflecting any occasion were there is a requirement to be on-call. Following a meeting on 10th February the Staff Side of PNB has registered a failure to agree with the independent Chairman of the PNB and now await the matter being referred to independent arbiters.

On behalf of the Staff Side of the Police Negotiating Board, Ian Rennie, General Secretary of Staff Side and the Police Federation of England and Wales, says:

"We are extremely disappointed that once again we find ourselves having to fight the government for a basic fair working condition for the 170,000 police officers throughout the United Kingdom.

"In order to provide the necessary frontline resilience police forces and officers must be flexible but this voluntary flexibility by officers must be recognised. We're not asking for any new money to fund the on-call allowance; there are sufficient funds within the Special Priority Payments to cover this. This is about recognising the commitment to the public and sacrifice to their families that officers make by being on-call during their off duty time. Recognising the restrictions that forces place on officers limiting what they can do with family and friends including having to be available and fit for duty including no consumption of alcohol and having to remain in their force or a geographically defined area with a requirement to return to duty within a specified time period.

"Police officers understand that 24/7 policing will impact upon their personal lives but it is only right that anything that goes beyond what is considered 'reasonable' that impacts on their family life should be financially recompensed

The (Police Negotiating Board) PNB was set up by statute in 1980 for the purpose of negotiation on police pay and conditions. It is independently chaired with its own secretariat. Two sides make up PNB; Staff Side represents police officers up to an including chief officers and the Official Side represents the employers; government, the Association of Police Authorities and Association of Chief Police Officers.

Nigel Dennis
General Secretary
Civil Nuclear Police Federation.

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Chairman - Mr. Mark Nelson
Chief Exec. - Mr. Nigel Dennis

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