Police officers not only refuse to issue tickets, but are beginning to go on sick leave en masse. Unlike the “dog flu” three years ago, the trade union does not control the protest, and is even accused of betraying uniformed interests. Behind the “strike” is a mysterious group that uses Telegram channels with thousands of police officers already registered.
The first stage of the policemen’s protest is to not issue tickets. The interventions of the officers are to end only with the instruction of the accused, which is permitted by law.
However, as the journalists of tvn24.pl checked, from Thursday policemen are intensifying the protest and are starting to use sick leave in increasing numbers. The police do not officially announce how many policemen are currently on L4.
The policemen are sick
– In my morning about 20 officers sent L4. These are the cases, certainly in connection with the protest. I think that there may be more people on the night shift – says the commander of one of the large units in Silesia, who has about 200 uniformed under him.
– Large units will manage for a few more days, because there is someone to replace the sick. Smaller ones, such as police stations or posts, are already starting to have problems to put together patrol crews. It really resembles 2018, and when it goes on, nobody knows it – says the officer of the provincial headquarters in the center of the country.
Let us remind you that three years ago, policemen began to get sick on a massive scale throughout the country, which the media called “dog flu”. In fact, it was a strike, although the policemen have no right to it – the law on resolving collective disputes does not allow it. Entire units in the country were paralyzed by the number of “sick” officers, even in larger cities at night only the commander and his deputies had to patrol the streets.
Unions on censored
However, there is a fundamental difference between the situation three years ago and the situation today. At that time, the protest was led by the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union of Police Officers, and it also protected the “sick” officers. He also organized the largest demonstration of uniformed services in history, which gathered around 30,000 policemen, firefighters and representatives of other services on the streets of the capital.
– As a result, we got everything we wanted from the terrified Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration Joachim Brudziński and Deputy Minister Jarosław Zieliński. It’s just that the agreement was not implemented and it was not supervised by Jankowski (Rafał – ed.) – this is what ordinary policemen and trade unionists say about the union leader.
That is why today the union does not rule the protest, but confidential news groups on Telegram. Only one of them had almost six thousand users on Friday – although 24 hours earlier it was 3.5 thousand.
Revolt by Telegram
The messaging channels were established by a group that called itself “The Great Uniformed Protest 2021”, describing themselves as “seasoned policemen, other union uniforms and ordinary officers.”
– Only a policeman who is already a user can bring another participant to the group. We know from work that the communicator guarantees sufficient confidentiality, people are not afraid to write what they really think – the police officer explains to tvn24.pl.
Which voices prevail here (original spelling – ed.)?
“Lucynka is speeding up” – this is one of the entries. “Lucynka”, or L4 – sick leave.
“We have 70% on layoffs. The chiefs of the obser are ****” – reads the entry of a policeman from the Lower Silesian garrison.
“Go with them” (with government-ed.)
“When there is no protection on the monthly, they will understand.”
The union war
A large part of the comments concern the attitude of the trade union authorities, mainly its chairman Rafał Jankowski. In numerous entries, he is criticized for being too conciliatory towards the government.
It is about declarations after the meeting with Deputy Minister Maciej Wąsik, which took place at the beginning of September.
– We made it to the shore with what we had been waiting for a long time, I will even say too long – said chairman Jankowski.
And the policemen heard that Minister Wąsik’s proposal was for them an increase of PLN 270 for each of the 104,000 positions counted by their formation.
– This caused an avalanche, which we are observing and no one knows what it will end – says the unionist tvn24.pl, asking for anonymity.
The president’s betrayal?
The ranks of policemen decided that chairman Jankowski, who had so far enjoyed great authority, betrayed their interests – this is evidenced by hundreds, if not thousands, of entries on groups and forums. The minimum that officials expected was to obtain assurances from the government that the deal that ended the 2018 “strike” would be implemented.
– Then we signed an agreement with the government, which guaranteed us a PLN 650 increase in 2019, another PLN 500 in 2020 and not less than PLN 500 in the next year – says the unionist.
This third condition has not been met to this day. Similarly to the issue of changes in the pension regulations, and more precisely in the Act on Old-Age Pensions for Police Officers, Art. 15a (it is about crediting years worked in civil professions) or returning a full-paid sick leave.
– So what success did Rafał Jankowski talk about after this meeting? People felt betrayed by him – says the trade unionist.
The wave of criticism caused President Jankowski to change his tone, there were further meetings with Deputy Minister Wąsik, and the final proposals are to be known around September 20.
Charges against Jankowski
Information began to circulate on the web that the previously respected trade unionist had joined the government for his own benefit. Police officers inform each other that he is a member of the European Works Council, for which he receives huge appeals, he also receives awards and bonuses of many thousands, and enjoys the privileges of the authorities.
We decided to check it out. The official replies sent to us by Jankowski show that his participation in European trade union federations does not involve anything other than the reimbursement of travel costs, which take place once a year.
After answering questions about bonuses and awards, he referred us to the Police Headquarters.
– Staff aspirant Rafał Jankowski is employed at the Police Headquarters as a specialist and therefore receives a salary from the 6th group, where the 16th reserved for the chief police officer is the highest – the KGP press department told us.
This means that Jankowski’s situation is within the police norm, as there are over 13,000 officers in the same group.
Individual officer studies
However, the police headquarters did not answer the question about the bonuses and awards that Jankowski would receive from the chief police officer.
The police also ignored our questions about the officer training course in Szczytno, which was to be attended by Jankowski.
– The chairman has repeated many times that he is an aspirant, that is, salt of the police land, one of us. Now it suddenly turns out that he has been on an officer training course – we were handed over by several officers.
Unofficially, in independent sources, we have confirmed that Jankowski actually attends the officer course on an individual basis.
– Normal participants stay in Szczytno for seven weeks, not even being able to go out to the city. The chairman only comes to the exams, our sources say.
As a result of all this, four large trade unions, incl. of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship or the Police Training Center.
For the time being, he maintained his position, but other provincial boards supported him conditionally – he was obliged to negotiate with the government a minimum implementation of the 2018 agreement.
Meanwhile, in their groups, the policemen write that they expect an immediate raise from the government, going far beyond the PLN 500 promised three years ago.
Their demands are not limited to financial matters. They created the postulates of the “Great Uniformed Manifesto”, including the expectation that the formation would be depoliticized immediately – they wrote directly about the deteriorating image of the police in the eyes of citizens.
They propose that the position of the chief commander of the police should be guaranteed by the term of office, they want the amount of the police budget to be permanently linked to the state budget, as is the case with the military.
– If this does not happen, then one day there will be no police car or cordon at the Sejm during the next demonstration – they write.
The same postulates were openly spoken by the members of the four boards who openly threw the gauntlet to Jankowski.
– If they manage to knock Jankowski down, the police will certainly stop, they will strike even harder than in 2018 – we heard in the headquarters.
Young versus old?
According to our interlocutors from the police, the most desperate are young policemen with only a few years of service.
– They look at the police as an ordinary workplace. They won’t stay after hours, unless someone pays them well. They will not answer the phone when they go beyond the command threshold. Maybe they are right, and we were wrong when we looked at the police as a service – says one of the current generals.
How will the protest go on? Most of our interlocutors do not rule out paralysis as in 2018.
Experienced official of the Ministry of Internal Affairs: – For the finance minister, every zloty of a rise for a policeman must first be multiplied 13 times, then 104 thousand times, and then the tax should be added. Then carry out the same action with the Border Guard, Fire Service, etc. I do not see the possibility of meeting the financial demands, not to mention the others – he says.
Main photo source: TVN24