Cops deny that they have ‘rejected’ Government’s wage offer
Militant members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) have scheduled a media briefing for this afternoon to “set the record straight” on the state of their compensation negotiation with the Ministry of Finance.
Opening the 2023/24 Budget Debate in Parliament on Tuesday, Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke urged the police and other large public sector groups to sign the new compensation agreement as the window for the payment to be made this fiscal year closes on March 31.
Clarke told the House that the Government has set aside $10.2 billion to pay rank and file members of the JCF who are represented by the Jamaica Police Federation; $1 billion to pay district constables who are represented by the United District Constables’ Association; and a further $600 million to pay members of the officer ranks who are represented by the Police Officers Association (POA) as he made an impassioned plea for the cops to accept the offer.
But on Wednesday livid JCF members charged that Clarke was being disingenuous in his utterances.
“For the minister to be giving the impression that the POA and other police groups are rejecting its offer is highly deceptive and does not align with good bargaining practices,” charged the leadership of the groups in a message to their members.
According to the leadership of the three police groups, an update was provided to their members following the last meeting they had with Clarke, more than four weeks ago. Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson was reportedly present at that meeting.
“We highlighted the concerns we observed with the package that was presented to us and asked that all anomalies be corrected. This was about the fifth time we were requesting that those issues be addressed,” said the cops.
They pointed out that up to late Wednesday they had not been provided with an updated offer and have not been called back to the bargaining table.
“The intent of [today’s] press conference, therefore, is to highlight the most troubling issues that are hindering the police groups from moving forward,” said the leadership of the police groups.