Wed | May 25, 2022

Pay increase coming for police - Chang

Published:Saturday | January 29, 2022 | 12:05 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

POLICE OFFICERS deserve a better salary package and they will be getting more, says Dr Horace Chang, deputy prime minister and minister of national security.

“While not getting into too big a debate, the police deserve more pay and they will get more pay and we will settle without too much conflict,” Chang told journalists while touring a safe passage project aimed at providing a safe environment for students attending schools in Salt Spring, St James, on Thursday.

In September last year, the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file members, rejected the Government’s four per cent wage offer, describing it as an insult, and threatened to report its wage dispute with the Government to the International Labour Organization.

NOT QUARRELLING

The wage dispute has since become a court matter, where April 4 and 5 have been set aside for trial, but the disgruntled rank-and-file police officers remain hopeful that the matter will be settled before then.

“It takes two to quarrel and we are not quarrelling with the police for what they deserve. It just has to be done in a manner that is appropriate and will be sustainable and will protect their status as professionals going forward,” Dr Chang said.

While not providing much details, the national security minister said changes are coming to how police officers’ wages are negotiated.

“On the issue of the salary, we are taking steps towards a significant policy change on remuneration,” Dr Chang said.

The security minister said successive political administrations over the years have been insulting the country’s police officers, by way of what he calls significantly underpaying them.

Dr Chang said: “Without qualification, this Government views the police as a very highly professional group.

“The way we pay them was an insult to the profession. They were underpaid and then you gave them a little allowance to make ... it is grossly unfair and it was a poor reflection of the Government’s attitude,” Dr Chang revealed. “All governments have treated the police with disrespect before now.”