Police staff including 999 call handlers are being urged to reject a “pitiful and insulting” 2.1% pay offer.
Unite said the proposed increase, over a 17-month period, would see the pay of some staff rise by just over £1 a day.
The union is calling on its thousands of members in England and Wales (but not those in the Metropolitan Police) to reject the offer in a ballot in the coming weeks.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a pitiful and insulting offer to workers who kept this service running smoothly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Employers need to stop trying to make workers shoulder the burden of this cost of living crisis.
“Unite will give 100% support to our members in whatever action they decide to take to fight this real terms pay cut.”
Unite national officer Jim Kennedy added: “We calculate that if you take into account all the elements of the offer, it amounts to just £1.15-a-day before tax on mid-pay bands, so that’s why we are calling for a massive vote to reject this terrible offer.
“If our members do eventually proceed to a strike ballot, it could mean 999 and 111 call handlers, scene of crime forensic staff and custody suite employees taking action which would highlight the pivotal role our skilled members make in the delivery of police services.”
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