Friday, 11 January 2008

Police ballot for industrial rights

Article from the Socialist 515

GORDON BROWN is trying to enforce below-inflation pay rises on public-sector workers, from the civil service to local government workers, teachers and nurses. Now the police are being forced into considering action. The Police Federation, representing rank and file police officers, has called on the Home Secretary to resign and is at loggerheads with the Metropolitan Police over a protest demonstration on 23 January.

Iain Dalton
The police were awarded a 2.5% pay rise by an independent tribunal from 1 September. But the government decided to implement it for the 140,000 police in England and Wales only from 1 December, saving £30 million.

Since the 1970s the police have been awarded pay increases by an index, which takes into account their lack of a right to strike. This year however, as part of their drive against public-sector pay increases, the government decided they wished to come out of this and impose a settlement.

The index was given to the police after discontent in the police force in the 1970s. A series of pay disputes, no doubt influenced by working-class struggles at the time, led to calls then for genuine trade union organisation and the right to strike.

To silence their demands they were given an immediate 10% pay increase, with a review into police pay after this. When the Tory government was returned in 1979, it announced the new generous pay index, no doubt partly to buy the support of police officers for the assault on trade unions during the 1980s.

Now the Police Federation is to ballot its members on whether it should lobby for full industrial rights. The Federation is also attempting to organise a demonstration in London, although archaic legislation may be used to block this from taking place - which would leave us with the odd sight of the Metropolitan Police banning police from demonstrating.

Socialists support police officers' right to a proper trade union and the right to strike. We should work towards bringing the ranks of the police closer to the labour movement, whilst also calling for local democratic control of the police and opposing their repressive use.

PS - I was wondering about whether anyone else would be interested in setting up a joint blog about the left & crime?


Rob said...

I was wondering what you thought of a lot of the Marxist criminology that came out in the 60s/70s/80s etc., e.g. Spitzer, Greenberg and Melossi and Pavarini. I ask because, as a budding Marxist legal theorist I have - at the very least - a peripheral interest in these issues.

blackstone said...

Rob can you elaborate more on these authors?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that the Government now uses CPI rather than RPI. The Retail Price Index includes items often more representative to most people (less luxury goods more esssentials), when considered against an RPI of around 4% the pay settlements the governemt are puting forwards aren't just a little bit below inflation but 2% pay cut!

Leftwing Criminologist said...

I've been meaning to review a book I've got by Melossi and Pavarini anyway, it's to do with prisons and economic development so i'll get that up in the next week or two.
I've also done several book reviews to do with radical/critical criminology which you shoudl be able to find in my post archive. - i'd recommend Ian Taylor's "law and order: arguements for socialism" though
I'm going to try and tackle some of the other 'marxist' theorists but from what I know about them many are what i'd call 'armchair marxists' - however, i haven't read them all that much yet so i'll reserve final judgement