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Rennie reveals police call handlers facing pay cuts of up to £6,400

April 14, 2019 9:00 AM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie has today has warned of experienced police call handlers could "stream for the exits" as he revealed that over 120 staff have received pay cuts of up to £6,400.

Now a Scottish Liberal Democrat freedom of information request has revealed that 128 staff face pay cuts of up to £6,400 as a result of changes to back and night shift allowances. The new pay deal came effect on 1 April.

In early February, Willie Rennie wrote to the Scottish Police Authority and Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf, raising concerns about the cuts and warning of low staff morale and on 21 February 2019, he challenged the First Minister about the issue at FMQs, the transcript of which can be found here.

Scottish Liberal Democrats recently revealed that 1 in 10 emergency call centre handlers have been off sick in recent weeks.

Willie Rennie commented:

"Police call centre workers in Govan, Bilston and Motherwell are facing pay cuts and unreasonable changes to their conditions. No wonder absences are so high and morale so low.

"There have already been a number of high profile incidents relating to emergency call handling in recent years. Experienced call handlers are essential but there is a risk that they will stream for the exits.

"The Fatal Accident Inquiry into the 2015 M9 crash, which was handled by Bilston Glen, still hasn't been conducted. It may be that the failure then to retain experienced call handlers is one of the lessons to be learned.

"I've challenged the First Minister and the Justice Secretary to step in and support this service. They're sleepwalking towards another blunder. Ministers need to take a long hard look at the past and reverse these cuts."