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Cops lower wage demand to 20 per cent
Police officers have cut their wage negotiation figure by 50 per cent. For months, officers had been demanding that the Government increase their salary by 40 per cent. On August 12 this year, officers also stayed away from their posts, branding that day as one of “Rest and Reflection” in protest of the five per cent offer by Chief Personnel Officer Stephanie Lewis. Lewis had made it clear that the five per cent offer would not be increased. President of the Police Social and Welfare Association Sgt Anand Ramesar said yesterday that officers were willing to accept a 20 per cent increase instead. Ramesar wrote a two-page letter to Lewis on Tuesday, indicating the association’s willingness to settle for half than what was originally demanded. He said the proposed 20 per cent would be divided by seven per cent, six per cent and seven per cent, also over a three-year period.
Ramesar said the decision to reduce the figure was made during a recent general council meeting. He said there was some expectation that the CPO would move her figure as well. During the meeting, some officers also expressed their willingness to accept even 15 per cent. Ramesar, however, made it clear that the association would “at no time” accept five per cent. “We would reiterate that five per cent is not just insulting, it is uncaring...that’s a clear mandate from the membership,” he said. “That is not an option for us...It does not represent the real value of a police officer. “There is no real compensation that detective officers are incurring during the state of emergency.”
In the letter to Lewis, Ramesar said: “I am documenting my reasonableness and good faith. “It is my hope that by demonstrating my reasonableness of police officers during this period of negotiation that the stakeholders, including the CPO, would commence negotiations in good faith,” he said. At a recent meeting chaired by Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal, Ramesar said the minister agreed that an offer of 25 per cent was reasonable for police officers. The association’s executive was supposed to meet with Lewis yesterday at her Port-of-Spain office. That meeting, however, was postponed.
Since the state of emergency was declared, Ramesar also wrote in his letter, it was difficult to hold meetings with the CPO. “As you are aware, the country is in a state of emergency and as such, police officers are completely absorbed in policing, with little or no time to spare,” he said. “As such, our negotiations have been hampered severely in so far as we are incurring various difficulties in meeting with our members.” He also expressed concern regarding “unresolved matters” which he cited as proposals to Cost of Living Allowance (Cola).
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