The Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) is calling on the state to quickly resolve the pay dispute with police officers who have been embarking upon industrial action to force the government to improve upon its six per cent wage offer.
PSOJ president Howard Mitchell told the RJR Communications Group that there’s no leadership on the issue and the business sector is concerned that the sickout by the police members is growing with no clear direction from the state.
He said while the business sector saw increased activity during the holiday season, progress may be derailed if the wage negotiations are not settled.
Calls for PM’s intervention
Meanwhile, the Police Federation has written to Prime Minister Andrew Holness urging his intervention after the Finance Ministry said it cannot offer any more than the six per cent wage offer.
The Federation has described the offer as an insult to the men and women of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
Phillip’s issues warning
Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips has warned that the nation’s security is at risk as a result of the impasse.
“I think the entire country has a lot of sympathy for the police force and the other public sector workers. Because up to now, from all the information that is available to us. The government has not been approaching the negotiations with seriousness.
“They are simply saying to the workers – take it or leave it. That’s not the way negotiations should be approached … they are being allowed to lag on the side-lines while we are facing the worst crime wave ever in our history,” Phillips said.
Police Commissioner George Quallo has sought to assure the country that contingency measures are being implemented to protect the nation’s security.
Mitchell contends that the state is failing in its duty to protect the citizens, giving no clear indication that anyone is in control of the situation and insists that urgent intervention is needed because the sickout may escalate, causing additional problems for the country.