Dec 8th 2011 - JACINTA CARROLL
BATHURST police are not issuing speeding fines and other infringement notices as they support statewide industrial action.
Officers across the state are currently working to “level 3” industrial action, which places a ban on infringement notices.
It’s a response to planned State Government changes to the officers’ death and disability benefits scheme and it is estimated to be costing the government millions each week in lost revenue.
And the NSW Police Association will tomorrow debate whether to step up their campaign to “level 4” sanctions, under which police across the state would only respond to emergency call-outs.
The association’s western region organiser Matt Thomson said police did not want to move to level 4, but a failure by the government to negotiate with the association on changes to the scheme meant they were left with few options.
Industrial action by police began last month after the association claimed the government refused to negotiate a new death and disability scheme, instead changing the current legislation before stealthily rushing it through parliament’s upper house.
Mr Thomson said the association has fronted the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) every day this week as the government tries to stop the statewide industrial action.
He said this was ironic given the government had removed the IRC from the new death and disability legislation which was passed in parliament.
“Under the new legislation the government has removed the Industrial Relations Commission, yet here they are taking us to the IRC [to try and revoke the industrial action]. “They use the umpire when it suits them,” he said.
Mr Thomson said police are furious with the changes and are getting angrier.
“They claim the new scheme will get police officers back to work, but what it really does is encourage police who are not well to come back to work before they are ready,” he said.
He said if not altered to protect police, the new death and disability scheme will change the way police do their job, and ultimately put members of the public at risk.
“The fear factor will come into it,” he said.
“If I go to a domestic and have to wrestle with a big angry man, I’m now going to wait until another three cars turn up before I go in.
“We do our job to make the community a safer place, but we’re not going to do it if it means we have to go home and tell our partners we can’t
support them any longer because we got hurt doing our job.
“It puts the public at risk but it’s the way we’ll have to do it.”