On Tuesday at midday, the Minister for the Interior, Jan Jambon (N-VA), and three of the four police trade unions concluded a form of pre-agreement for pay within the police. For the first time in a long time, a series of salary scales will be increased, as a means to monitor pay within public services. Furthermore, the policy for bonuses will be simplified.
Three out of the four police trade unions, the SLFP (the public service trade union), the CSC (the Confederation of Christian Trade Unions) and the SNPS have approved the agreement. The text has two parts. Firstly, particular salary scales will be revised upwards, so as to monitor pay practices within the federal public services. No increase has occurred in the last 17 years in the Belgian police sector, causing disparities. The second aspect is a comprehensive streamlining of the bonus system, which had also not been reviewed for 17 years.
There is a complicated system of salary scales and bonuses. The Court of Auditors and the Standing Police Monitoring Committee have seen a risk of system abuse and a propensity to become so-called “bounty hunters” within the police. Moreover, people working within centralised police services (in particular anti-terrorist services) or community police officers cannot claim these bonuses. Individuals having relevant person specifications for given roles were thus disregarded from particular parts of the police service, as this would not have favoured their pay grade.
Various ministers have expressed their view on this matter and the reform features in the government agreement and within the recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee for Terrorism. The two parts of the agreement will come into force on a gradual basis. Jan Jambon is delighted with the position, saying, “I am very proud to have reached agreement after a year and a half of negotiations. Pay within the police will be simplified, which enables the optimum operation of the system.”
The agreement now needs to be officially formalised.