Professional associations representing police officers, fire officers, and prison officers have approached National Security Minister Stuart Young to advocate on their behalf over outstanding salary negotiations.
Speaking at a press conference after they held a meeting with Young at his office in Port-of-Spain, this morning, executive members of the Police Social and Welfare Association, Prison Officers’ Association, and Fire Services Association claimed that the move was intended to appease their members, who are concerned over delays in the negotiations since 2014.
Prison Officers’ Association President Ceron Richards described the situation as unprecedented as he noted that officers were working in a new collective agreement period with the previous two three-year periods being outstanding.
“We would have reached a position and place that is unprecedented. This has never happened in any of our tenures,” Richards said, as he noted that they called on Young to make enquires over the issue with Finance Minister Colm Imbert.
The executive officers described the talks with Young as positive as they noted that they expect a response from him sometime this week.
Fire Services Association President Leo Ramkissoon called on their members to remain patient while the issue is being addressed through Young, as line-minister for different branches of the protective services.
“In so far as the Fire Service is concerned, the fire officers are asked to be optimistic as we go forward and give the relevant parties, the government, an opportunity to address the shortcomings. Of course, we expect this to be done in very short order,” Ramkissoon said.
While Police Social and Welfare Association President Inspector Gideon Dickson was hopeful that Young would be able to facilitate their request to commence long-overdue negotiations, he said his members were prepared for any eventuality.
“We felt that the meeting, as expressed by my colleagues here, was fruitful. However, we stand ready and waiting for the next engagement,” Dickson said.
Dickson also noted that 20,000 members of the protective service were affected by the delay including members of the T&T Defence Force (TTDF), who were not represented at the meeting.