Thousands of Victorian police officers will take industrial action this weekend, with Police Association Victoria CEO Wayne Gatt declaring: “It’s on like Donkey Kong”.
On Friday almost 99 per cent of the Police Association members voted in favour of the planned industrial action, unless a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) is reached by Thursday November 30. Members met again this week to map out their planned industrial action, which is set to begin on Sunday.
“From Sunday, 7am, it’s on like Donkey Kong. Our members will be telling the government exactly what they think of them, exactly what they think about the way they’re dealing with them, and exactly what needs to be done to correct the issues that are causing the slash-and-burn mentality in our police force,” Mr Gatt told journalists.
The industrial action is designed to hit the state government where it hurts, with police planning to park their cars beside speed and red light cameras and flash their lights to warn motorists to slow down.
Slogans will also be painted on police cars, officers will be banned from working beyond rostered hours unless they receive overtime, and they will stop work when its safe to do so.
The 17,500-strong police union, which accepts both sworn Police Officers and Protective Services Officers as members, is demanding a four per cent wage increase as well as nine-hour work shifts to better accommodate work-life balance.
But Mr Gatt said members were more concerned about the conditions over employment and the “significant volume of unpaid work” they were being asked to do.
“Our police officers are being burnt out, day by day by day,” the Police Association CEO said.
Mr Gatt said the union’s members had no choice but to launch the industrial action.
“This is not action that was unavoidable, indeed it is most avoidable. It is not action Police Officers, Protective Service officers want to take; its action we want to avoid,” he said.
“But it is action we’re being driven to by finally with the government to deal properly and respectfully with its Police and Protective Service Officers in Victoria.”
However Victorian Police Minister Anthony Carbines attempted to distance the state government from the dispute on Wednesday, telling the Herald Sun the EBA negotiations were a matter for Victoria Police and the Police Association.
“The arrangements are very common and negotiations will be reached between the employer and employee,” Mr Carbines said.
Earlier in November, shadow police minister Brad Battin called for Premier Jacinta Allan to step in to resolve the ongoing dispute before it threatened community safety.
“Clearly Police Minister Anthony Carbines has shown himself to be completely ineffective and is now only making things worse with his incompetence. He seems more interested in attending the races than attending to the safety concerns of Victorians,” Mr Battin said.
“The Premier needs to intervene and fix this mess. This must be about community safety, strengthening Victoria Police and ensuring Victorians have the police force they rightfully deserve.”
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