Police Federation wants wage talks by AugustMonday, July 12, 2021
FOLLOWING a “clarification” meeting between the Central Committee of the Jamaica Police Federation and technocrats at the Ministry of Finance last Thursday in relation to the 2021/23 salary negotiation package for rank-and-file members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the federation has called for quick action and a sit-down at the bargaining table by August.
The Jamaica Police Federation in May registered its outright rejection of the Government's 2.5 per cent salary increase offer, adamant that “the days of sacrifice are over and done with” while urging for talks to begin.
Police Federation Chairman Corporal Rohan James, speaking with the Jamaica Observer last Friday, said Thursday's meeting, which lasted two hours and 17 minutes, was convened so the federation could provide the ministry with information “on some of the items” of the claim package it submitted on behalf of its members.
While unable to speak to the specifics of the package the federation is hoping the Administration will sign off on, Corporal James said “one of the things is, we have been asking the Government for an increase in basic salaries as well as on the benefits side. That is as much as we can disclose at this time”.
The basic salary for a police constable at this point is $780,000 per annum, before taxes. Allowances vary depending on where a police officer is assigned.
“The fact of the matter is that there needs to be a holistic approach taken to how it is that the rank-and-file members are remunerated, especially when it is that administrations have successively neglected the numerous reviews that have been commissioned,” the Jamaica Police Federation chairman said.
The cops, he said, are not minded to have protracted negotiations.
“We indicated to them that we don't expect any undue delay and we are hoping, as best as possible, that it will be within reasonable time. Within less than a month we are anticipating that we should be back at the table to iron out the salient issues that are affecting the general membership,” Corporal James told the Observer.
A stand-off has been brewing between the Government and the rank-and-file members of the Jamaica Constabulary force, with the latter adamant that its members have been settling for the less-than-adequate wages since 2002 and “will not be bullied” into accepting the proposed 2.5 per cent increase for the 2021/22 fiscal year, which they branded “an insult”.
The 2.5 per cent represents an incremental offer promised by the Government in light of a one-year delay in implementing a new public sector compensation structure.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke, tabling the Estimates of Expenditure 2021/22 at Gordon House in February, said 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 while financing the country's economic recovery at the same time.
— Alicia Dunkley-Willis