Cameron Houston September 25, 2011
The dramatic move could punch a hole in the state budget, which is expected to reap $257 million from speed cameras alone this financial year.POLICE will refuse to issue speeding fines, toll road penalties and traffic infringement notices across Victoria from Friday as they escalate their campaign for better pay.
Of the 7651 officers who voted in the Police Association ballot over the past week - about two-thirds of all members - 7585 supported banning all penalty notices, amid growing fury over ''blatant stalling tactics'' by the state government, which insists it is negotiating in good faith.
The Police Association is expected to officially notify Victoria Police of the result tomorrow and is required under federal industrial legislation to give three days' notice before taking protected action.
The measures approved by Fair Work Australia will also include a ban on unpaid overtime and a refusal to execute money warrants.
Officers will be urged to use discretion - people who commit serious traffic violations are expected to be charged on summons, which would place further strain on Victoria's court system.
And while no speed camera fines will be issued, police resources will still be used to warn drivers of the location of cameras.
The bans will come into force at 7am on Friday and will continue indefinitely until a satisfactory pay deal is reached.
Police Association secretary Greg Davies said members were seething that their request for a 4.5 per cent pay increase had not been discussed during the protracted negotiations.
''This is bizarre and unprecedented. We are heading towards 12 months of negotiations and have not talked money. Not once. It's farcical,'' he said.
''From tomorrow on, the only thing left to discuss will be money, and if the government refuses to come to the table, then they can't possibly argue that their negotiations are in good faith.''
Mr Davies said the government's law and order credentials were in tatters, with Premier Ted Baillieu breaking a key election promise to award police pay rises linked to inflation plus productivity gains.
''What we have asked for is exactly what the Premier said he would give us when he was spruiking his law and order agenda before last year's election. Not a penny more,'' he said.
The government has refused to revise its original offer of 2.5 per cent plus productivity.
Mr Davies conceded the government was in an invidious position, with four other unions locked in bitter negotiations for new enterprise bargaining agreements. ''I can't speak for other unions, but it's our job to look after our members and it's the Premier's job to keep his promises,'' he said.
The escalating battle with police comes as the Baillieu government struggles to resolve increasingly hostile negotiations with several other unions, including the powerful teachers' and nurses' unions.
The public sector union has already moved to cripple 11 government departments with actions that were put to votes last week.
Last month Finance Minister Robert Clark moved to temper union demands, when he told The Age that wage claims would inflict a $21 billion financial hit that would push the budget into deficit.
''Some union representatives in Victoria appear to be oblivious to the current international climate and the pressures placed on Victoria by the Commonwealth government,'' Mr Clark said. ''Victoria needs to be careful, particularly at this time, to maintain a sound budgetary and fiscal position.''
Last week, the Community and Public Sector Union ramped up pressure on the government, with a request to Fair Work Australia for protection on 63 separate actions that would hobble 11 government departments.
More than 12,000 public servants will vote on the campaign, which could further undermine the government's law and order reforms. It is believed that a plan to ban the processing of non-criminal fingerprints would make it impossible to conduct security checks on 1700 new police and 940 protective services officers promised by the government.
Most of Victoria's 12,400 police will vent their anger on the steps of Parliament House at a protest march in early October.
This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/police-ban-traffic-fines-in-pay-row-20110924-1kqwg.html