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PM responds to police, says Cabinet to discuss wages

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness today responded to the Jamaica Police Federation, indicating that the wage negotiations will be discussed at a Cabinet meeting next Monday.

The prime minister intervened after the negotiations between the Federation and the Ministry of Finance soured, resulting in rank-and-file members of the police force staging a 'sick-out'.

Holness, in his letter to the federation, said he understands and appreciates the challenges, personal sacrifice and ultimate danger with which law enforcement officers must contend.

He said the government highly values the service and contribution of policemen and women in providing security for the nation, which is a prerequisite for economic growth and job creation.

However, the prime minister pointed out that there has to be consideration for the “delicate” state and stage of Jamaica's economic recovery and that present action will determine whether or not Jamaica stays on the course to recovery.

“It is in our collective interest to ensure that Jamaica stays on the right track,” Holness emphasised.

As a result, he noted that a broader discussion with the Cabinet and finance ministry is necessary given the “far-reaching implications” of the issues to be addressed brought forward by the police federation.

“Cabinet is scheduled to meet on Monday, at which time we will give further consideration and advice to the minister and his negotiating team,” Holness said.

Last month the federation shot down the four per cent increase in year one, and two per cent in year two offer as “unacceptable”, after several rounds of talks with the finance ministry, which resulted in approximately 2,730 rank-and-file members calling in sick.

Days ago, general secretary of the federation Sergeant Cecil McCalla said the men and women of the JCF would not accept the Government's “sluggish, stubborn and unreasonable” position and that it was grossly disappointing that the Administration had returned with essentially the same offer as before.

The police argued that they had been assured by Finance Minister Audley Shaw at a mid-December meeting that he would separate them from other public sector groups and that Cabinet would be asked to consider a reduced set of items.

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