Our collective dismay at an absent pay award shifted up a gear on Monday following an apologetic update from the Agency that the 2022 increase may now not hit your pay packets until 2023. In the middle of a cost-of-living crisis this is totally unacceptable.
I’m afraid an apology just doesn’t cut it, apologies don’t pay the bills and given the cripplingly slow pace of activity so far, we really do question the sense of urgency of the Agency in playing its part to get the deal done. Whilst we know that the Agency is hoping to convince Treasury to loosen the purse strings more than it would like in order to deliver a One NCA pay deal, just how hard are they fighting on your behalf – merely acquiescing to the situation presented by HM Treasury is not what anyone wants us to hear.
In the summer, the Police Pay Review Body signalled the introduction of an across the board pay award of £1900 for all Police officers. Whilst the PRB does not deliver recommendations for Civilian Police Staff, last week, with HM Treasury support, an original pay award set for them was overturned in order to deliver a package which mirrored the £1900 award for Police officers. The pay parallels between the Police and NCA are widely reported and agreed by all those involved in our annual pay process. This move proves that with impetus and a will to do so, the Agency can and must secure a ‘One NCA’ pay award for 2022 - well before Christmas.
Tomorrow, we are meeting the Agency and will be asking them to give us some evidence that they are strongly and repeatedly fighting for you to get this deal over the line. The Police Service has only this month proved it is possible and it is therefore of critical importance that we all have confidence in the efforts being made by your employer behind the scenes.
Additionally, we will once again urge the Agency to fight to get the embargoed NCARRB document released. Not only will this provide you with an idea of what we are fighting for, it will also remove a potential further delay down the road given that without the official release of that document through a parliamentary statement by the Home Secretary, your pay awards simply cannot go ahead.
On 19th October, the Home Secretary, RT Hon Suella Braverman resigned her post. In her subsequent resignation letter, she made reference to ‘reducing overall migration numbers and stopping illegal migration, particularly the small boats crossings’. It is no coincidence that earlier on the same day she had spent the morning out with an NCA arrest team to witness your work in this field firsthand. Given her obvious admiration for your work it seems perverse that the Home Office and HM Treasury are now hampering a pay award in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis which most will not have experienced in their lifetime.
Given the political nature of this issue we are now also in contact with the press and politicians sitting on the other side of the Woolsack to raise the issue more broadly. A potential 5-month delay to a hard-earned annual pay award is unforgivable and really does not seem to show any respect for those who remain committed to protecting the public from serious organised crime threats.
It is also a sad fact that since announcing the introduction of a hardship fund last month, it is only the NCOA who have provided financial assistance to NCA officers at this time. In reality, everyone needs some financial help and we really do expect the Agency to fight hard to secure a fair pay award - now. More importantly, an award which respects both the independent findings of the NCARRB and the One NCA culture.
Simon Boon - NCOA General Secretary