Thousands of police staff, including PCSOs, could be due to walk out in an ongoing dispute over pay.
Members of GMB, Unite and Unison who are among civilian staff employed by police have voted in favour of a ballot on potential industrial action after they were offered a 1% pay offer.
Union leaders said 85% of a 2,500 members among police staff backed the ballot over industrial action.
It is believed across Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland police there are around 4,500 civilian staff working including call handlers, admin staff, PCSOs, crime scene investigators and finance staff.
Peter Chapman, a Unison representative and lead for police staff in the North East, speaking from the Police Staff Conference in Southport, said:
“We’ve already had a consultive ballot where we asked members if they object to the pay offer of 1% and if they are willing to take part in action up to and including industrial action.
“85% of this said they were in favour and we will now follow that up with a ballot for industrial action.”
The unions have said they would prefer to see a 3% increase in pay and Mr Chapman said if members back industrial action a strike can be expected by the end of the year.
“I’ve left a debate over the pay offer at the conference and this is not something that our members want to do.
“It’s not action taken lightly and police staff can never be described as militant.
“It will include PCSOs, people who take finger prints and scenes of crime.
“The police force can’t run without it’s staff and PCSOs are part of our union.
“They are popular, they are effective if there’s a strike by PCSOs it will have a noticeable public impact.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 16 Oct 2014
The 130th Durham Miners’Gala will be tinged with sadness following the deaths of two leading figures of the Labour movement.
The event, on Saturday, July 12, is set to draw thousands of people to the city centre to watch the parade of banners and brass bands.
Tony Benn and Bob Crow, who died within days of each other in March, were popular speakers who appeared several times at the Big Meeting.
Mr Benn, the former veteran Labour MP who renounced his hereditary peerage, spoke at 20 Galas and also attended when he was not one of the speakers.
Mr Crow, general secretary of the RMT transport union, delivered a call from the platform at last year’s Gala for unions to form a new political party to fight for their interests.
Labour leader Ed Milliband once declined a Gala invitation because he didn’t want to share the platform with a “militant’’union leader.
Dave Hopper, secretary of the Durham Miners Association, which organises the event, said: “We will be saying goodbye to those comrades.
“Gresford (the miners’ hymn that is always played at the Gala) this year will have a special significance because we have had a number of funerals of good comrades.”
The 82-year-old former miner, who is renowned for his wit and entertaining speaking style, last addressed the event in 2011.
The line-up is completed by GMB general secretary Paul Kenny and Gala first timers Mick Whelan, general secretary of the rail union ASLEF, Steve Gillan, general secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association, and Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers.
Mr Hopper added: “We have a delegation of miners coming from the Ukraine and we are hoping one of them will say a few words about the very troubled and dangerous situation in that country.”
For details of the Gala and events in the run-up to it visit http://www.durhamminers.org
Source – Durham Times, 02 July 2014