Police wage talks hit another hurdle
Corporal Arleen McBean
Wage talks between rank and file members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Government have hit another hurdle.
Police Federation executive members came out of their latest meeting with representatives of the Government on Thursday lashing out at what has been described as a “lack of due regard and attention being demonstrated by the Government of Jamaica regarding wage negotiation.”
The federation said it is grossly dissatisfied with the approach being taken by the Government in relation to the wage negotiations.
Federation executives said they were not pleased with what was placed on the table, and as a result of the development, a mass meeting of rank and file police personnel is to be called to communicate the latest position from the Ministry of Finance.
The federation said it was also calling for the urgent intervention of Prime Minister Andrew Holness with a view of concluding the negotiations in good faith, and in a way which demonstrates the Government’s commitment to the serious business of national security.
The police union said the latest wage offer was communicated by Deputy Financial Secretary, Wayne Jones, during a 30-minute meeting, which commenced after 10:00 a.m., on Thursday.
Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr Nigel Clarke... his absence from Thursday's meeting has been cited as 'evidence' of a lack of commitment from the Government to settle the ongoing wage dispute with the police federation.
The eight-member team representing the federation collectively said it is believed that the negotiations do not have the Government of Jamaica's full commitment.
The federation said this was evidenced by the fact that Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr Nigel Clarke, was absent from the negotiations at such a critical stage, leaving it to technocrats to communicate the offer “on behalf of the principal”.
Chairman of the federation, Corporal Arleen McBean, stated the body’s present position on the matter:
“The Central Committee is extremely disappointed, as it appears that the Government of Jamaica does not value the service of the hardworking rank and file members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, and has again seriously failed to appreciate the fact that policemen and women island-wide are uneasy and distraught with the Government of Jamaica's stone-hearted position at the negotiation table,” said McBean.
She said the disappointment is coupled with the increased demand for police services in the Zones of Special Operations (ZOSO) and states of emergency (SOE), adding that the demand for police services is anticipated to be intensified for the festive season.
“Police continue to work very long hours without being compensated for overtime. This is one of the myriads of striking issues which confront the police daily,” said McBean.
The federation said it has continuously demonstrated a robust and unwavering commitment to the negotiation process, and remained “on call” for the past two weeks, only to be called this morning to the Ministry of Finance and told to “take it or go to a third party”.