President of the Trade Union Federation (TUF) Julian Monrose has admitted that the move by the Police Welfare Association (PWA) to accept government’s four-percent salary package has placed his umbrella grouping in a vulnerable position as it prepares to go back to the negotiating table with government.
Monrose said the decision by the PWA has stunned the executive of the TUF.
According to Monrose, PWA never indicated that it would sign the deal. The president said his executive was not even expecting the police to sign deal because doing so would not have been good practice.
On Friday, March 1, 2013, member unions of the TUF met with their general memberships to discuss the status of the negotiations as well as the contents of the address to the nation delivered by the prime minister two nights prior.
At the end of the meetings, sources indicated that police officers had agreed to accept the government’s offer because they were concerned that going to arbitration would not favour their cause.
In addition to the four percent salary increase, the government is providing a risk allowance to the officers. That package compliments the fringe benefits which include, meal, uniform and traveling allowances, among others.
Despite threats and rumours of industrial action, government said it is sticking to its wage-increase proposal, saying it cannot afford to raise public sector salaries by more than four percent due to the “grave” economic situation facing the country.
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony made the disclosure during an address to the nation under the theme “Time for Closure” on Wednesday night, Feb. 27, 2013, two days after some civil servants reported ill for work in protest against government’s decision not to go beyond its four-percent wage increase proposal.
To date, the Government Negotiating Team is offering four percent over a three-year period, which the Trade Union Federation (TUF) has rejected, sticking to their demand of a six percent from their previous request of 16 percent.
Dr. Anthony has recommended that the matter be resolved peacefully by arbitration as it appears that the negotiating parties have arrived at an impasse.