THIS BALLOT IS NOW CLOSED – Please click here to view the Ballot RESULT
The Ballot on our counter offer will open at 1200hrs today, 23rd November 2015. It will run until 1200hrs on the 7th December 2015.
The issue of our Terms & Conditions of Service (TACOS) is still ongoing and we are returning to you with a new revised offer, from the Department, on which we will ballot our members from 23rd November 2015.
Previously the Department and Force had presented several iterations of what they had wanted and we had engaged with them, but it was clear that the belief, from the official side, was that we were not representing our members positions, when we stated that the offers they were making were not satisfactory.
That led to a formal offer for change from the Department and the Force and then to the last ballot, where clearly our representation was correct and you, the members, chose to reject that offer by a significant majority.
I have made it clear to the Department and the Force that our rejection of the first offer was not on a financial basis or because we did not want change, but was because it did not represent a fair offer to our officers.
As a result of the last ballot on our TACOS, we returned to our branch reps to ascertain, from them, the list of issues that most affected the outcome of the vote at their stations.
We then returned to the official side and highlighted these areas, with pensions being the most divisive.
They have now returned to us with this new offer, which, compared to last offer, has these significant changes:
- The official side has removed the 42 hour week, for new entrants from this offer.
- They have included on-call allowance
- They have committed to meeting the Home Office standard for Away from Home and Hardship Allowances – where officers are on joint operations
- They have extended the principles contained within the Children and Families Act 2014
- They have committed to, although it is stated it is not currently affordable, giving the Unsocial Hours Allowance – which will be kept under review by the Force and the Federation.
- They have removed the sickness on rest day provision from the first offer.
On top of that, the official side have renewed their commitment to remove the NPD, and reduce the MDP pension age in line with the previous offer.
This broadly brings this offer into line with that accepted by our Home Office colleagues as a result of the Winsor report. However, we feel that it still fails to meet our members’ expectations, in three key areas, namely:
Fitness testing &
Unsocial Hours Allowance
As such we are looking to adjust this formal offer, with conditions, listed below, which – if accepted by you our members – would form our response and counter proposal.
What this means in effect is, that should the majority vote in favour of this conditional response, we will reject the offer received and respond with a counter proposal based on the offer received plus the conditions set out below.
Our counter proposal would only be binding if those conditions are all met.
We are therefore asking you to vote to accept our counter offer – You are NOT voting on the offer received as we believe it does not meet all of your concerns expressed after the last ballot, we do not consider that it is satisfactory and it does not give us the fair approach we deserve.
We are disappointed that the two pay increases have been withheld, under TACOS, but are glad to see that they will be paid and backdated in full, once an agreement is reached. That is a 1% pay increase backdated to September 2014 and a further 1% pay increase backdated to September 2015.
On the pension issue, the offer is a better position than the one we find ourselves in currently (67 years of age SPA), but it does not meet our members expectations. We will place a condition on our counter offer that the Secretary of State must negotiate for an Enhanced Effective Pension Age of 65 (EEPA), which then allows officers, should they wish, to increase their contributions and take their pension from 60. This will cost the Department and Government nothing more than what they have currently offered, but will allow our officers to have a similar pension to their colleagues for a lower contribution. We can see no reason why this is not achievable and it is clearly a fair position to adopt.
We must say however that, although not satisfactory, the Department’s offer of an EPA of 65 is better than anything currently on offer to any other part of the civil service. That said it is out of step with the rest of the UK Police Service, hence the requirement set by the DPF.
On the fitness testing, our members are concerned about the impacts and as such we will also place a condition on this offer that the Force cannot commence consequential testing until April 2017, 12 months after the commencement of the mandatory ‘Without Consequence’ testing which will commence on the same date as the return of the NPD.
On the Unsocial Hours Allowance we would want a commitment, from the Force and the Department, that this allowance would be paid to our members from 2018 if not affordable before – ensuring its adoption in the future.
I must make it clear to you all that the National Executive Committee (NEC) does not think that the offer received is what we would wish for and our conditions will only tighten it up in some areas, but, the NEC do believe that this counter proposal is the best position we can realistically put forward on your behalf in the current financial circumstances and with the shadow of SDSR looming.
To reject this offer will leave us in the position that the Force and Department could then look to immediately impose those elements they feel they can, such as the pay freeze, removal of CRTP, removal of SPP, Fitness Testing and changes to pay structure, but will not look to give those elements that benefit you, such as the NPD, the pay rises and the lower pension age – meaning that we will have to resist those areas where we can, but all against a backdrop of lower pay with a higher pension age.
This cannot be seen by anyone as beneficial to the majority of our members and we hope that you will look to support this counter proposal put forward as a 'Conditional Offer’ and place the onus back onto the Force and the Department to deliver these changes.
We have received advice that if we do reject this offer outright, any resistance we can then offer will be reduced as a result of our rejecting their offer, making arbitration or any legal challenge more difficult.
In closing the NEC put this Conditional Offer to you, with their endorsement that this is the best offer we can realistically put forward in the current circumstances and ask you to support it.
The ballot will go live on Monday 23rd November 2015 and will run for 14 days, until the 7th December 2015
Defence Police Federation
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