Thursday 12 December, 2019

PWA demanding salary increases for cops

President of the Police Welfare Association (PWA) Travis Chicot will be in a no-nonsense mood when he sits with the Government Negotiating Team (GNT), later this year to discuss salaries, work conditions, fringe benefits and other matters pertaining to police officers.

Chicot is particularly peeved with the frozen state of salaries of police officers, which he says has been the case for the past five years and which needs to change.

“Our members need a salary increase. We have seen the prices of everything in this country go up. Our members cannot continue to operate at the same levels of pay. We need a salary increase for our members. It's been five years. We have seen VAT gone up and down yet the salaries remain the same. We are ready to discuss an increase and I can assure you we will not leave the round table if it is not an increase. We are not prepared to take a wage freeze,” Chicot said.

So adamant is Chicot at sitting with the GNT and getting positive responses to the proposals his team will be presenting that he will not tolerate protracted discussions that could go into the next year.

He has instructed the PRO of the PWA to inform the other members of the Trade Union Federation (TUF), of which the PWA is a member, and the government of the PWA’s readiness to commence negotiations.

“We should not allow Christmas at all to come and not make representation on behalf of our membership. We are ready. We have our proposals in place; we have our justifications in place. We will justify our position, why we believe that our benefits should be increased,” he said.

 “As it relates to negotiations, the Police Welfare Association is prepared. It has been five years, we’ve not negotiated and cannot afford to move into another year,” Chicot added.

“Our members need to know their future as it relates to salaries, working conditions and fringe benefits. The Police Welfare Association, through its PRO will call out the parties responsible, the government, to make ready the Government Negotiating Team,” Chicot said.

Another matter Chicot wants government to address is the risk allowance of $75 paid to police officers. As far as he is concerned that is not enough.

“We have an increase in gun crimes in this country and yet police officers are still being paid $75 for risk allowance, this is crazy so we need to go back to the round table and renegotiate those benefits,” Chicot said.

The PWA, over the past several years, has been conducting negotiations with the GNT together with other trade unions and associations group under the TUF umbrella. However, this time around, it vows to go ahead and negotiate alone, without its sister trade unions, if they are not as ready to start the negotiating process.

“We are calling on the TUF to get ready as this is not business as usual. If we have to go alone then we will, however, it would be a good thing if Bordelais Correctional Facility and the Fire Service could come onboard as some of the benefits are similar,” Chicot said.

He says the PWA executive is also ready to discuss proficiency and vocational allowances which he adds have been promised to police officers but which have not been forthcoming.

Members are taking their monies to study and are coming back and not getting a cent. We need to see how best we can get those monies for our members. We are not going to waste anybody’s time,” Chicot said.

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