Striking Policemen?

It borders on the asinine if not outright appalling, to even entertain the notion that policemen, anywhere in the world for that matter, are allowed to strike. Policemen along with government paid doctors and nurses are classified as essential services and are by law, not allowed to stage work stoppage. But Canada , a country always willing to bend things for the sake of political correctness, couldn’t stop policemen from staging their own version of a strike, to force the city to approve the new collective bargaining contract. The Toronto police union and the city are in a stalemate with the new contract for the last 10 days and an agreement doesn’t appear to be forthcoming.

So what did the police do to further their grievance ? Rather than laying down their guns and parking their prowl cars and invite lawlessness, policemen wrote fewer traffic related tickets , estimated to be 80% less than the normal volume. The city had already lost some $500,000 in traffic ticket revenues and will continue to lose more if the contract is not settled. The Toronto police rake in some $35 million a year from tickets issued for driving related offences and this excludes monies collected from parking fines. People who deliberately ignore parking fine reminders will be shocked to know that their car plate will not be renewed until all outstanding parking fines are paid.

It is estimated that if the stalemate is prolonged until Nov. 1, the city would lose $1.5 million in revenue from traffic related tickets. The police hope that the financial sting would cause the city to reconsider its position and expedite the approval of the new contract. Pundits have always insisted that the police bosses and the city are under some sinister agreement to maintain the $2 million + a month revenue. In other words, the police appears to be bound with the revenue quota and policemen must issue tickets to meet the target. This makes people worried, that traffic voilation tickets are being issued left and right to satisfy a revenue target. While it is true that the offender has the option to dispute the ticket in court ( if the policeman issuing the ticket doesn’t show up in court , the charge is dismissed), it leaves a bad taste in the mouth, that a ticket is issued not because of a genuine infraction, but for some other purpose.

One can’t help thinking that the police strike strategy smacks of blackmail and the deal if signed does not reflect an agreement done in good faith. Is the policeman, someone who serves and protects the public any different than a soldier ? If not, why should the police force be part of a trade union?

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23 Responses

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  2. It seems that everyone in Canada except politicians are allowed to strike. A few years ago, Ontario public school teachers staged a strike for three weeks disrupting peoples lives, forcing parents to go on unscheduled vacation leave. I guess that’s part of being free means.

  3. Yes, Chester there was a 3 week teachers strike some 5 years ago but was ended when the provincial legislature passed the work to rule legislation. The teachers were directed by law to get back to work and they did.

    Just recently the public school teachers of British Columbia staged a strike but was deemed illegal by the provincial court. The teachers union was fined $500,000. The Ontario teachers would have laughed at the half a million dollar fine. Their union, the Ontario Teachers Federation, has a collosal net asset of $50 billion dollars. They are now officially a financial institution, selling mutual funds and other financial services. Public school eachers retire in relative comfort and good for them. I have nothing much to say for they seem to get the job done.

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  5. Hi, BW!

    You wrote: “In other words, the police appears to be bound with the revenue quota and policemen must issue tickets to meet the target. This makes people worried, that traffic voilation tickets are being issued left and right to satisfy a revenue target. While it is true that the offender has the option to dispute the ticket in court ( if the policeman issuing the ticket doesn’t show up in court , the charge is dismissed), it leaves a bad taste in the mouth, that a ticket is issued not because of a genuine infraction, but for some other purpose.”

    Parang ganyan din ang nangyayari dito. Sabi ng asawa ko money-making na yung pag iissue ng traffic violation tickets. Ang daming police radars installed everywhere tapos di na normal yung speed limits na ini-impose. For example, sa mga tunnels, one should slow down abruptly from 80 km/h to 60 km/h (sa highway). Yung mga kakilala ko parati ring may mga traffic violation tickets kahit careful driving na. Feeling tuloy namin, hindi na issue ng safety kundi revenue generating scheme na ang ginagawa ng Swiss police. Sorry at parang magulo ang comment ko. Di ko ma-explain nang maayos at complicated.

    Your blog entry is well-written, by the way.

    Have a nice week and God bless!

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  7. Thanks Jayred. Police radars are definitely a cash cow to the city. Politicians even use police radars asan issue in their political campaigns. Some vow to remove them if they get elected and they’ve really been in and out, depending on the mood of politicians. The thing also is – hindi dapat alam ng tao about the revenue from traffic tickets although feel mo na but the police themselves confirmed it!

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  12. Hi BW. I’ve heard many labor strikes but ti’s the only time I heard policemen do such thing. Perhaps, Canadian laws allow this. In our country, government personnels can’t strike or have some sort of work stoppage. Any form of work stoppage may be a cause for termination.

    Somehow, it comes to my mind that maybe, even public employees may need to express their grievances when the time comes.

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