Prime Minister Andrew Holness has told the Police Federation that he has to have more far-reaching discussions with Cabinet and the negotiating team at the Finance Ministry before a response is given to issues raised in a letter sent to him by the Federation.
In a letter sent recently, the Police Federation demanded a meeting with the Prime Minister and noted that wage negotiations with the Finance Ministry have broken down.
The Federation has been urging a swift response from the Prime Minister and led a sick-out protest which lasted several days. Prime Minister Holness responded to the Federation in a letter which was dispatched today to the union which advocates on behalf of rank and file Police personnel.
During his letter, Prime Minister Holness did not respond directly to the request for a meeting with him. But he told the Federation that he’s been having crucial discussions about the issues they’ve raised with Finance Minister Audley Shaw and his negotiating team – along with National Security Minister, Robert Montague.
Prime Minister Holness noted in his letter that a much broader discussion with Cabinet about the important and far-reaching issues raised by the Federation is necessary. He said the issues will be discussed during a meeting of Cabinet which is scheduled for January 8 – after which the negotiating team from the Finance Ministry will be advised about how to proceed.
The Prime Minister told the Police Federation that he understands and appreciates the challenges, personal dangers and ultimate sacrifice which law enforcement has to contend. He noted that the Government of Jamaica values highly the service and contribution by Policemen and women to Jamaica’s security.
The Prime Minister further noted that security is important to the process of achieving economic growth and job creation. Prime Minister Holness told the Federation that he’s sure that its members share concerns regarding the delicate stage of Jamaica’s economic recovery.
Mr. Holness noted that while the economy is currently trending in the right direction – present actions will determine whether the recovery is sustained. The Prime Minister urged the Federation to recognize that it’s in the collective interest of all Jamaicans that the economic recovery remains on track.
The Government’s offer of a six percent wage increase over 2-years has been firmly rejected by the Police Federation.
However, its understood that the Government is adamant that anything more than the six percent increase which has been offered to all public sector workers could endanger and undermine Jamaica’s fragile economic recovery.