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French government raises police pay after union talks

The French government has agreed to raise police salaries after successful negotiations between interior minister Christophe Castaner, and unions Alliance Police, Unité-SGP, Police-FO and Unsa.

The agreement comes after two days of talks, with police seeking recognition for unpaid overtime, 14-hour working days, and poor working conditions, which they say were exacerbated by the gilets jaunes protests and increased terrorism threat after the Strasbourg shooting.

Following the talks, the government is set to offer €120 more per month for police and security officers at the start of their career, between January 1 2019 and January 1 2020. This will rise to €120-€150 more per month for those at higher levels.

The first part of the increase - around €40 - will be enacted from January 1 2019, with the rest introduced by July 1, according to a statement from Laurent Nuñez, secretary of State for Mr Castaner.

Mr Castaner has also promised to pay the €275 million-worth of back payments that he had agreed were owed to police staff for unpaid overtime, “going back decades”.

Payment methods for this last amount are likely to vary over the next few years.

They may be paid every year, or placed in a savings account for retirement or future use, according to Yves Lefebvre, general secretary of Unité-SGP Police-FO.

These agreements mean that the controversial €300 grant that had been suggested by Mr Castaner as a possible solution to the unions’ grievances has been dramatically reduced in scope.

It will be paid only to technical, scientific or administrative workers within the police; and to police officers that were called upon to specifically marshall the gilets jaunes crisis from November 17.

Mr Lefebvre said: “After many discussions, we obtained a real step forward. Today, we got what we wanted, and what we came for.”

Jean-Claude Delage, general secretary of Alliance Police, said: “[This] is a real step forward for police and peacekeepers’ buying power. The material recognition that we wanted - tonight we got it.”

Despite the agreements, however, it is not yet clear if a protest - planned by some police officers and unions for Thursday night (December 20) in Paris - will still go ahead.

Secretary of union Vigi Police, Alexandre Langlois, said: "Police are realising that they have the same problems as the gilets jaunes, when it comes to buying power."

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