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West Yorkshire helpdesk staff to be balloted for strike action

Union leaders have warned the force may be making redundancies to find £18m in savings.

Staff at West Yorkshire have been warned job losses or wage cuts could be coming in order to balance the books.

Unison claimed helpdesk staff could be set to lose unsociable hours shifts which could leave more than 50 employees £4,648 a year worse off. 

The union has asked if they would be prepared to take strike action after sharing details of a review by West Yorkshire Police which includes a planned restructuring of the help desk rota pattern that will do away with this allowance. 

Until now, staff have received the allowance on top of their basic salary for working evenings or weekends.  

Unison, which represents non-officer staff in forces, warned the loss in earnings could have a major impact on employees at a time when the cost of living is escalting.

The staff support officers dealing with road traffic collisions plus bail and custody issues as well as public inquiries.

The union claims West Yorkshire needs to find £18m in savings – and that figure may increase following the pay deal announced by the government for officers.

Union reps have urged the force to speed up the sale of mothballed police stations as an alternative and claimed other options are also available.

Regional organiser for West Yorkshire Police Natalie Ratcliffe said: “Staff are angry and upset with the potential drop in salary. Many are already leaving because they won’t be able to afford to stay. 

“The risk is police officers could be taken away from vital policing if they have to end up running the help desks. It would be madness to target help desk staff and take officers off the streets.”

West Yorkshire said it was considering options with the staff involved.

A force spokesperson said: “The Force has been reviewing the public help desk provision across its five policing districts. The Chief Officer Team has agreed to move forward with an option paper and this has now moved into a period of structured consultation.

“We are currently carrying out focused consultation with affected staff. There will be a public consultation on the proposed changes and further details will be provided in due course.”

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