“He said there has been no improvement on the offer from the Government and the four per cent is in fact the final offer.”
Industrial Relations Officer of the Prison Officers’ Association (POA) Second Division, Wendell Mitchell said the Government’s new position on wage negotiations has been made clear through Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) Dr Daryl Dindial.
The four per cent offer which covers the negotiating period from 2014 to 2019 (0,0,2,0,0,2) had already been rejected by the first and second division associations and they were hopeful of an improvement when they sat across the table from the CPO yesterday morning.
Mitchell said this optimism followed recent utterances from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley about the country recording a windfall of more than $8 billion as a result of the increase in prices for oil and energy products on the global market.
“Obviously, you could imagine that would have left both associations totally dejected and disappointed by this latest development,” he said.
Mitchell said the CPO Dindial has to place his utterances in writing following which the association will meet with its membership to discuss the steps to take.
“I feel our members will feel a lot of outrage, they will feel betrayed,” he added.
Asked what his message to the country would be, “stay tuned,” he said.
On Sunday, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Social and Welfare Association (TTPSSWA) was praying for an improved offer but suffered the same fate as their prison service counterparts.
In a statement, the association wrote that its “counter offer proposed by the membership of 5%, 5%, 5% for the period 2014-2016 and 4%, 4%, 4% for the period 2017-2019 was rejected by the Government.”
The TTPSSWA said it was also told that the four per cent offer on the table was the final one.
As it related to the Fire Service Association (FOA), while the words final offer were not used during their meeting with the CPO yesterday afternoon, the wage increase offer stayed the same.
Association president Leo Ramkissoon claimed they were reportedly being “threatened” into taking the offer.
“If you are telling us that you would take into consideration our views, then we cannot see why you should also be making the statement that if we don’t accept you might take this matter to the court; that is a real possibility, we find that to be a strong-arming tactic, a bullying tactic and we don’t appreciate that and we made that clear to the CPO,” Ramkissoon said.
Speaking with Guardian Media yesterday, Ramkissoon described the meeting as “tense but professional,” however, they remained unhappy with the result or lack thereof.
“It was less than satisfactory the outcome of the discussions as far as the Fire Service Association is concerned,” he added.
He said they expected to see what he called movement in the right direction but the CPO did not budge.
Ramkissoon said the CPO, however, promised that he would convey their concerns to the Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert and get back to them with a response.
Guardian Media understands that all three associations representing the protective services also plan to have a joint discussion on this new stance taken by the Government.
On June 18, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley revealed it would cost the Government $2.5 billion in back pay alone to cover a four per cent wage increase over six years.
He also said the Government would be committed to a further $500 million, annually, just for the civil service, teaching service, defence force, protective services and daily rated workers.
The CPO initially offered a two per cent wage increase for the same period to public sector workers which was strongly rejected and led to protests in Port-of-Spain.