The Winsor Report part 2 has well and truly put the cat amongst the pigeons. The document I understand is nigh on 1000 pages long. There are many recommendations that I will not go into here.
Suffice to say that on twitter today the primary focus has been on the announcement today that the Police Federation have decided to ballot police officers about the right to strike. The press release is here.
As a general description, striking is the last resort. When all negotiations have failed. When companies or governments have failed to listen or not given the answers the people want to hear then direct action is considered. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t.
The decision today is an emotive one for police officers. I for one have always been very critical of the Fire Service. They proclaim to want to protect and save lives. The tell us about the dangers of fire and then when things don’t go their way they go on strike. More than once they have walked out and left 18-25yr old soldiers to fight fires with 60yr old fire engines. To me the behaviour is deplorable. If this nails my colours to the mast then it stands to reason that as a police officer I will not strike.
I don’t want to strike.
I learnt a lesson from someone who’s writing I respect a while ago. The principles were applied to blogging and can be summed up as;
- Don’t jump in too soon
- Watch the developments and see what others have to say
- Consider their views and your own
- Post a sensible, well researched and objective article.
A second lesson I learnt myself recently was;
- Never blog in anger
In view of all the above I will not blog further on this topic today. Suffice to say that the police service in this country feels like it is being bullied. We operate under very different terms and conditions of employment to anyone else in the country. We cannot be made redundant but we can be performance managed out of the job. We have no industrial rights and our sole voice as a collective body is The Police Federation. We tried to talk to the last government and they rode roughshod over our annual pay increase. We have tried to talk to this government and they continually fail to listen to us and press through their reforms.
Who knows where this situation is going to end? I certainly don’t. What is certain though. A guard dog protects you and your property. If treated well it will work hard, always be alert and be ready to respond 24/7. If you continually beat it with a stick though you will need to be careful because one day it may just turn around and bite you.
Police officers going on strike is not an easy situation to achieve. The law dictates that we are prohibited from doing so. Changing that will need the government to allow us to or be defeated in some sort of court case I guess. That said, I welcome the vote and I will be interested to see what the response to it will be.
The tough moral decision will be what to do, if the situation arises, when the call goes out.. “Tools down. All out…”
It should be noted of course that there are many aspects to industrial action before a full blown strike