Police pay-fight action may let off speeding drivers

Police in Victoria will vote on whether to step up industrial action as a bitter pay dispute threatens to drag into the new year.

If the ballot is successful, officers would no longer penalise most speeding drivers, refuse to appear in court and stop taking on extra duties.

That could impact policing arrangements at the Australian Open tennis as officers volunteer to take on extra shifts to cover major events.

The Police Association of Victoria has been pushing for a four per cent pay rise and better conditions such as nine-hour shifts during five months of negotiations.

Up to 18,000 officers have already imposed work bans, which include attempts to slash state government revenue from lucrative speeding fines and writing messages on police vehicles.

Association secretary Wayne Gatt said his members did not want to escalate action but had no alternative as there had been no negotiations in December.

"It’s not action that they want to take, it has never been," he said.

"However, they have been left with no choice."

Wayne Gatt
Wayne Gatt says police officers will tell Victorians about the impact of government cuts.

Under the proposed action, officers would stop issuing penalty notices except for drink- or drug-driving and serious offences that trigger an immediate loss or suspension of a licence.

The further 18 proposed work bans include stopping extra duties, such as taking on extra shifts to police major events and refusing to to appear as informants or witnesses at the Supreme and County courts.

Mr Gatt said escalating action would free up time to focus on the community so the public could expect to hear a lot more from officers directly.

"They will tell Victorians in their own voice just how government’s cuts on policing services are impacting community safety and the health and wellbeing of police and PSOs," he said.

In a statement, Victoria Police said the organisation remained committed to good faith negotiations and was confident of reaching an agreement.

"We will continue to ensure frontline policing services and community safety are maintained should these actions proceed," a spokesperson said.

Union voting opens on Christmas Eve and will close on December 29.

About 200 mobile safety camera operators who are members of the Community and Public Sector Union are also planning industrial action as they lobby their employer Serco for improved pay and conditions.

Police vehicles have been shadowing the operators as part of the association's action.

A Serco spokeswoman said the company had plans to ensure safety was maintained through the holiday season and its mobile road safety camera operators played a critical role on Victoria's roads.

"We would like to remind everyone that those conducting this vital work are members of the public who have the right to be safe at work and go home to their families after their shifts," the Serco spokeswoman said.

"We are committed to further discussions regarding the pay for our (camera operators) and have been fair and reasonable in all offers made to the union and our employee representatives."

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