Sunday 18 August, 2019

Government answers call for resumption of police wage talks

Sergeant Raymond Wilson

Sergeant Raymond Wilson

Less than a day after the Police Federation issued a statement declaring its displeasure with the pace at which the Government is moving towards the conclusion of their 2017 to 2019 salary and benefits negotiation, and insisting on an early meeting to resume the talks, the call has been answered.

On Monday, the federation was invited to resume talks with the Government at a meeting that has been scheduled for next Monday.

But while the federation is preparing for the engagement, as was indicated in its statement, it is again hinting at likely militancy if no progress is made at the meeting.

The federation said in its statement that should no meaningful new offer be made by the Government at any meeting that is called between the two parties, the federation would simply put the situation to its general membership for a collective decision to be taken on the way forward, and it is understood that that position has been maintained since the news came of the invitation to next week’s meeting.

In its statement, federation Chairman, Sergeant Raymond Wilson, noted that the Central Committee of the federation met with the Government on two occasions regarding the wage talks, the last being on September 14, “without any meaningful consensus or progress regarding our salary negotiation".

The federation said, in the true spirit of negotiation, the organisation decided thereafter, to give the process some time for things to fall in place.

But Wilson said the federation was disappointed that almost two months had passed without the rank and file police union getting a formal invitation from the Ministry of Finance to resume talks, even as the cost of living continues to increase and members of the police force continue to face the challenging task of serving the country.

“We are frustrated, and the rank and file cohort remains restive and uncertain, especially since it was the Government that announced that the negotiations would be concluded very early into the 2017/2019 contract period.

"We have made ourselves available, and we have exhibited good faith, but our patience has waned,” said Wilson ahead of the latest call to dialogue.

The federation said its members continued to be challenged to properly provide for themselves and their families while they continue to work, in some cases, up to 20 hours per day without overtime pay. 

“We sincerely hope that this matter will be settled long before the festive season begins, and allow good sense to prevail, as many of our members are demotivated, and inadequate pay and benefits remain one of the biggest factors,” concluded Wilson in the statement.

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