Police unfairly treated – Bunting
OPPOSITION SPOKESPERSON on national security, Peter Bunting, has asserted that the police were unfairly treated in the recent public sector compensation restructuring exercise.
“This needs to be fixed and if not done now, then a future PNP government will do so. In the meantime, I hope public sector negotiations do not allow the Government to stop the annual increment, because you can’t give wid one hand and tek it back wid the other. They must ensure that the overtime regime for police officers, a promise long made, be properly and effectively implemented now,” he said in his remarks at the Jamaica Police Federation’s 80th Annual Joint Conference, which was held in Trelawny on Tuesday.
Bunting said the restructuring was conducted without sufficient integrity and accused the Government of hiding the salaries of the political directorate until 99 per cent of public servants had already settled.
“If it was justified, why were the proposed settlements for all groups, including politicians, not put on the table when the negotiations were taking place? I want to know if this federation would have signed for what you signed for, if you had known what the Cabinet ministers were getting,” he said.
The audience declared a resounding "no", before Bunting completed his statement.
“The tone of the negotiations was one of bullying. It was all about rushing to meet arbitrary deadlines. If you didn’t sign by March, then the $12 billion that we have put aside for you, you will have to wait years for it, but money has been found in this financial year,” he said.
INCREASE IN TAX THRESHOLD NEEDED
Salary increases for the political directorate were announced on May 16.
Further, Bunting said the rolling in of allowances which were tax-free into the taxable salary necessitates an increase in the tax threshold, to reverse some of the increased taxes now being paid by rank and file members.
“The salary increases to the officer corps is welcomed but the rank and file also need a liveable wage too. For all the risks they endure, they must be fairly compensated,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bunting said federation members were short paid this month.
“The system is described as chaotic. The Government talks about digitalisation yet members can’t even submit their timesheets electronically. They have to waste time in downtown traffic to deliver a piece of paper,” he lamented.
The opposition spokesperson said the temporary allowance that was promised to ensure that no one would be worse off has not been received and no directive has been given by the finance ministry.