President's Column: Collective agreement negotiations

NZPA | Mon October 1st, 2018

Of all the Police Association’s activities, negotiation of the collective agreement for our general membership is the most important.

These negotiations take place in an environment where failure to reach an agreement with Police means we must go to final offer arbitration, which means we do not engage in the  significant public lobbying as seen with other unions.

While some pressure can be generated through public sympathy or demonstrations of dissatisfaction by Police staff, the reality is that both parties in the process are motivated to reach an agreement in preference to arbitration imposing one on them. This can only be achieved if, in good faith, we commit to well-researched and well-argued negotiations.

I believe the outcome of our current negotiations, which members are now voting on, is the very best we can achieve and ticks a lot of boxes, hence our recommendation to accept.

We might not have been able to win everything we want, but final offer arbitration would not deliver any more than what is on the table now. The key points of the recommended offer are:

• A 3 per cent remuneration and allowance increase each year for the next three years, fully backdated

• An additional 10 per cent increase in shift incentives and standby

• A reduction in the TOIL rule from three hours to two hours

• Improved ability to cash up TOIL and the fifth week of annual leave

• A significant increase in the life insurance subsidy that ensures the long-term viability of the scheme.

These are real gains for members.

Police sought several clawbacks that did not form part of the final settlement. However, we have agreed to a reduction in leave accruals.

Now it is in your hands. The most important action you can take as members is to attend the ratification meetings, have your say and vote based on the information provided by your pay negotiators.

I am convinced of the need for discussion at meetings, especially when I read some of the ill-informed opinions, clearly based on incorrect information, that surface on social media. During this pay round period there have been calls for us to “hold out for as much as the nurses”. Actually, the nurses accepted the exact same general wage increase (3 per cent each year over three years) that we are recommending.

We will hold as many meetings in as many venues as is possible. If you are unable to attend a meeting, you can make a special vote.

This is your chance to have your say. Remember, it’s too late to disagree once the results are announced.

I want to hear your views over the next few weeks and will attend as many meetings as I can.

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