Police ready for wage talks; say days of sacrifice are over
THE Jamaica Police Federation, which last month rejected the Government’s 2.5 per cent salary increase offer, will be heading to the bargaining table to get the best offer for rank-and-file members of the constabulary and is adamant that the days of sacrifice are over.
“They sent us a letter, we have in fact responded to them and urged them to effectively communicate to us a date [to begin negotiations]. We believe it should be an early date for us to sit at the table to flesh out what the issues are,” president of the Police Federation Corporal Rohan James told the Jamaica Observer.
“There is absolutely no room for us to procrastinate; we have been waiting for almost two decades in order to resolve a situation wherein the Government has promised and promised and we have sacrificed and sacrificed. Those days are over and done with,” James said.
“We are expecting that the Government will put on the table for us to promote what it is we believe is a liveable and meaningful wage package that will enable our membership to get ahead in this rough climate,” Corporal James said.
Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke, tabling the 2021/22 Estimates of Expenditure in Parliament in February, indicated that given the massive impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Government did not have the resources to begin the implementation of the new structure and finance the country’s economic recovery at the same time. He said the 2.5 per cent increase represented an incremental offer promised by the Government in light of a one-year delay in implementing a new public sector compensation structure.
But, the Police Federation, from the first week of May, formally indicated that the offer would not be accepted.
“We wrote to them acknowledging the receipt of their communication and their offer, and we also wrote to them and indicated our position of refusal and that we are now awaiting that formal invitation for us to sit at the negotiating table to address the items of our claim,” Corporal James told the Observer then.
“We are not prepared to accept being bullied into something that will redound to modern-day enslavement and for us to work without being properly remunerated. For years we have borne the economic shocks, and on numerous occasions we have been called upon to assist the country in moving forward and we have been doing so since 2002. We are [now] saying to the Government, having worked since 2008 to now every single month in excess of 30 hours free of cost or by forced labour, at this stage we cannot continue to subsidise national security,” the federation head had also stated when the wage offer was first rejected.
– Alicia Dunkley-Willis
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