Not worth the paper it’s printed on’: Police union boss rubbishes WA government’s pay offer

The newly-elected WA police union president has labelled a pay offer presented to its workforce by the state government as “not worth the paper it is printed on”.

The offer was announced by Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston on Tuesday afternoon, and highlighted a $1000 pay rise over the next two years.

Harry Arnott is the newly elected president.
Harry Arnott is the newly elected president.Credit:WAPU

The offer would also require police officers to continue working 40-hour working weeks, rather than a reduced 38-hour week the union had campaigned for in order to protect the well-being of its officers.

“The McGowan government has formally presented a new pay offer for WA police officers that will ensure they are amongst the best paid in the country,” the government’s statement said.

“WA police currently enjoy generous leave and entitlements, including six weeks annual leave, 168 days of paid sick leave every year and payment of a wide-range of non-work related medical and pharmaceutical costs.

“If the offer is accepted, WA police officers will continue to be paid for a 40-hour week. This includes paid meal breaks, meaning 37 hours is typically worked.”

However the union was quick to fire back following the statement. Police Union president Harry Arnott said the decision to release details of the offer had left those working on the negotiations “incensed”.

“This is completely disrespectful to our union and members as we had not had the opportunity to advise our members of the offer,” he said.

It’s understood negotiations about the industrial agreements were kept private, and some other items on the agenda have not been publicly released.

“We have bargained in good faith and endeavoured to work with government to find a mutually beneficial agreement.

“We told them to provide their best offer at the first instance however, if this is their best effort then it’s not worth the paper it is printed on.

“We have pushed hard for the introduction of a 38-hour week to provide some respite for police officers from the rigours of policing.

“However, the government has ignored our calls to improve police officers’ wellbeing by not including this initiative in the offer.

“They have not at any stage of this negotiation offered any assistance to the health and wellbeing of our members.”

The union said if the offer were to go ahead, its members would likely suffer a wage cut that would see “food off the workers’ table”.

Mr Johnston said the McGowan government was committed to resourcing the WA police, and negotiations were expected to be ongoing until June 30.

“The McGowan government respects and supports the outstanding job our police officers do to protect and serve the WA community,” he said.

“We want to continue to reward our police and this offer will keep them amongst the best paid in the country … the $1000 offer, which is in line with the public sector wages policy, is fair and reasonable.”

The union has long campaigned for greater measures around the wellbeing of its members in the force, with a focus on mental health.