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Police Scotland says “time for a refresh” with trade unions

The Service has said it is “engaging very actively” with civilian staff trade unions.

Police Scotland has acknowledged that it is “time for a reset” of relationships with civilian staff trade unions. 

It comes at a time when there is pressure from the Scottish government to look at workforce reductions amid other cost of living and pay pressures. 

Unison has recently said they will not return to the JNCC [Joint Negotiation and Consultative Committee] “until we see real change with our member's jobs and wellbeing as a priority on the agenda.”

At an SPA meeting today, Deputy Chief Officer David Page said: “[Police Scotland] has been going for 10 years and a lot of the structures and protools and processes meetings we've had in place with trade unions need a refresh. 

“It’s a very challenging time for staff colleagues with the cost of living crisis, with pay settlements and with the 3.7% reduction in workforce. Although officer reduction gets the headlines, it is applicable to all of our civilian staff as well. 

“I do think its a timely moment for us to reflect on Police Scotland and our relationship with union colleagues. 

“In the context of Police Scotland being a single team we have to ensure both officers and staff are treated equitably. 

“But also looking at Police Scotland and the treatment of officers and staff in the context of the wider public sector workforce and the pressures on that workforce at the moment through the Resource Spending Review and the Scottish government’s requirements that all public sector organisations look at workforce reduction and look at public sector reform. 

“We lost nearly 1,700 staff [previously] and here comes another round.” 

A new Director of People and Development, Katy Miller, is sitting down with unions and reviewing structures in place, while a new ‘Working Together’ protocol is being developed. 

DCO Page said he had confidence Ms Miller can get to a “new reset baseline” of the force’s civilian staff industrial relationship in today’s context. 

David Malcolm, Deputy Branch Secretary of Unison's Scotland Police Staff branch said: "Industrial relations around the JNCC have broken down due to the reduction of status in the negotiating and consultation process within Police Scotland.

"The forum has been reduced to a “tick box” exercise and when UNISON stood by our right to try and amend and restart the meeting it was met by resistance.

"The changes we need, to return the status of the meeting to actual meaningful consultation, did not suit those who need to get their transactional business through this stage of governance. This happened around the time of several serious breaches of our members terms and conditions which further exemplify a rising disregard for our membership and the importance of good industrial relations with the employees. 

"The new Director of People & Development Katy Miller is working to re-establish the JNCC but the challenges are significant and there is a lot of ground to cover and compromises needed to achieve this."

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