The People’s National Party (PNP) has declared it stands in solidarity with the members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force in the ongoing negotiations for payment for overtime work done.
In a statement today, the PNP said: “The Opposition suggests that the growing tension between the Government and the police be quelled by the Government agreeing to pay the police for overtime going forward, and entering into good faith negotiations to reach a workable solution with respect to the retroactive period.”
Members of the police force have been working shifts in excess of eight hours each day without compensation for overtime, and the Police Federation has been engaged in negotiations with the Government to recover overtime pay accruing since 2008.
According to the PNP, in an attempt to balance the interests of its members with the current state of the Jamaican economy, the Federation agreed to forego part of their claim, but the Government rejected those terms.
“The matter is at a stalemate, with the Government apparently determined to fight it out with the police in court,” the PNP said.
According to Mark Golding, the opposition leader and president of the PNP: “The manner in which the Government is dealing with the situation shows a lack of regard for our police officers, who work tirelessly to serve and protect our nation. The dispute has left members of the JCF disillusioned and disgruntled. Morale within the Force is low at this critical time when the nation is relying on our police officers to bring the torrent of murders under control. This impasse is highly undesirable, and it is the duty of the Government to find a solution. Jamaica needs a motivated Force to protect the population from the criminals.”
Golding said the country’s police personnel deserve to feel valued and respected as they tackle the dangers of confronting armed criminals.
“Constructive and sympathetic engagement by the Government with the Federation is urgently needed. It is clearly in the nation’s best interests for Government to motivate our police officers by adopting a conciliatory and respectful approach to dealing with their unresolved claim for overtime pay,” he said.