Thursday, December 14, 2017

No Christmas backpay for cops


POLICE SIGN: Sgt Anand Ramesar, centre, president of the Police Service Social and Welfare Association, signs the memorandum of understanding for a nine per cent wage increase as Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) Stephanie Lewis, left, and Association vice-president Richard Corbett look on during yesterday's signing ceremony at the CPO's office on St Vincent Street, Port of Spain. –Photo: AYANNA KINSALE

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THERE will be not be any backpay by Christmas for police officers after the Police Service Social and Welfare Association signed yesterday to a nine per cent wage increase.

Speaking with the Express at the office of the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) on St Vincent Street, Port of Spain, after signing the offer made by CPO Stephanie Lewis, head of the Social and Welfare Association Sgt Anand Ramesar said due to the amount of officers to be paid the likelihood of backpay before Christmas was unrealistic.

"The expectation to get that backpay for Christmas is no longer possible given that the population of the Police Service is well over 7,000. It will be a difficult task to ask for the monies before Christmas," said Ramesar.

He said the police were very strong and resolved that the CPO's original five per cent offer was not enough, adding that the real challenge now is getting a timely calculation of the backpay and the distribution of salaries.

Ramesar said he spoke to the finance department and officers can expect to get the new salaries by the end of January and the backpay between February and March.

He said because of the amount of money to be paid in backpay, the association has sought to advise its members on ways that they could have "some pragmatic uses of the backpay", since it is a substantial amount.

Some officers are likely to receive up to $50,000 in backpay, he said. The association accepted the offer of nine per cent by Lewis on November 16 after they rejected the same offer by National Security Minister Jack Warner on August 3.

Ramesar said the court matter, which was filed in the Industrial Court and is scheduled to be heard today, would be withdrawn when the matter is called.