Polícia Judiciária

Outgoing government “opens war” between Portugal’s police forces

“2nd class police threaten disobedience in streets”

Portugal’s outgoing Socialist government has opened a war between police, days after it is due to be formally discharged by President Marcelo.

At issue, writes tabloid Correio da Manhã, is the decision by last week’s Council of Minister’s to raise pay levels within the PJ judicial police.

As a result, the pay gap between that force and all the country’s other forces has increased dramatically.

CM carries a column today giving the various minimum levels of pay in the PJ, PSP, GNR, Armed Forces and prison services (guarda prisional). These show clearly the gulf between them.

Worst paid are military in the Armed Services. According to CM’s information, a starting level soldier will receive just €769.20 in basic pay. Compare that with the €908.77 in the GNR/ PSP and prison services, or the €1,807.04 received by inspectors in the PJ. The discrepancies are glaring.

An admiral/ general in the Armed Forces will receive a basic starting salary of €5,225.35, whereas the PJ’s national director can look forward to a minimum of €6,646,28.

Top ranks in the PSP/ GNR and prison services also vacillate. For example, a PSP chief superintendent can expect the minimum of €3,668.48 per month, while his equivalent in the GNR can get considerably more (€4,151.66) and in the prison services, a great deal less (€2,070.21).

On the basis that all law enforcement personnel have similar responsibilities/ hours/ conditions, it is not surprising this selective pay increase is causing issues.

ASPP/PSP, the PSP’s syndical association, has dubbed the situation part of the government’s policy of “low cost policing” that should shame the current minister for interior administration José Luís Carneiro, who is attempting to win his party’s approval to lead the PS into legislative elections in three months time.

Says the association, it will be holding meetings this week “to decide concrete actions of protest”

Since last Friday, a petition doing the rounds has been signed by over 14,000, demanding pay parity for the country’s police forces.

Says CM: “The sentiment of injustice is sweeping through the ranks and has already won the support of officer classes, equally dissatisfied with pay differences in the higher categories. The threat of protests becomes more strident with every day that passes. CM is aware of clear calls to paralyse the PSP, GNR and Armed Forces, circumventing the legal ban on them going on strike.

Said Paulo Santos, president of ASPP/PSP, “we are tired of seeing PSP professionals being treated as low-cost police. This unequal treatment is insulting (…) Without the right to strike, we will have to come up with new, creative forms of protest”. ND

Source material: Correio da Manhã (today’s front page story)