In the wake of demands by both the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) and the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) for pay rises, the police are now making a case for an increase.
President of the Barbados Police Association (BPA) Mervin Grace said officers had not had a pay rise for over seven years and now was the time to begin negotiations for a new deal.
While both the BWU and the NUPW have demanded double digit increases – 15 per cent and 23 per cent respectively – the BPA did not say how much it wanted from Government.
Speaking at the association’s annual general meeting yesterday, Grace said police officers had been asking for increased allowances and improved working conditions but their cries appeared to be falling on deaf ears.
“We have been in discussions with the Attorney General [Adriel Brathwaite] and to date no resolution on the improvements in our conditions of service have been forthcoming . . . . The medical benefits have been decreased and the accommodations have not yet been adequately addressed; we have serious issues with the operations of the Police Medical Officers,” Grace said in Brathwaite’s presence.
However, the Attorney General, who also addressed the meeting, said the question of a salary hike for police officers was out of his hands.
Brathwaite agreed that the officers deserved better pay and conditions of work, but made it clear he had not held talks on salaries with the association because it was not within his power to do so.
“I think it is more accurate to reflect that in a meeting recommendations were made by yourself and I said this would all happen within the overall civil service framework.
“But moreover, that you will have to take your proposals and your concerns elsewhere and you left with the understanding that hopefully, when you take your proposals elsewhere, that the Attorney General will support your proposals,” Brathwaite explained.
Meantime, Grace told the meeting his executive had been advised that the Criminal Investigations Department would be relocated to the former Registry building.
He said he had requested that an environmental study in an effort to ascertain its suitability.
“This building was vacated some years ago and our members have expressed reservations relative to being relocated there. Without the environmental study being completed, the Barbados Police Association will not support the move into the building,” Grace affirmed.