The Police Welfare Association (PWA) has sent its salary proposal to government for the triennium 2018– 2021 but according the Association’s chairman, it is yet to receive a reply.
Chairman of the PWA, Jefferson Drigo said the salary structure which has been proposed for police officers comprises 15% for 2018/19, 15% for 2019/20 and another 15% for 2020/21.
Drigo said the PWA has taken all factors into consideration, including the state of the economy, government’s fiscal performance, rising inflation and the general increase in the cost of living, in arriving at the proposed salary structure.
He said the Association is cognizant of inflation and its relevance to salary negotiations.
“As a result of inflation, the purchasing power of the dollar to its membership [PWA] has diminished considerably since the passage of Hurricane Maria. The cost of all commodities in the household basket increased considerably with no signs off a possible reduction in the general cost of living,” Drigo stated.
He added, “Additionally, coupled with a limited disposable income, creating a buildup of a credit-culture, it is necessary to make due provision for police officers to be able to save a percentage of their salary in order to make provisions for cases of emergencies.”
Drigo pointed to the dangers of police work which he said, includes duties which expose the officer to a high risk of injury, assault and even death.
“Furthermore, the dynamics of policing as an occupation, creates opportunities for officers to experience many psycho-social hazards such as stress, depression, divorce and even communicable diseases,” he said. “Given the reality of the changing environment, it is almost automatic that more demands are required by police officers.”
Drigo made reference to the devastation caused to Dominica by category five Hurricane Maria on the 18th of September 2017 and the extraordinary demands placed on police officers as a result.
“The police force worked hard and extremely long hours without any rest days afforded to them. Furthermore, their families were left alone while they helped restore the proper functioning of the country,” he noted. “It must be underscored that this level of sacrifice and diligent work was done with limited amounts of food, water and other essential resources. Therefore, it is imperative that the police should be rewarded for their courageous efforts.”
The PWA Chairman stated further, that the emerging role of the police in the twenty first century is one characterized by expansion and change and police officers have to adapt.
“To address these inevitable changes of the 21st century, the Police Welfare Association is proposing a modernized workforce that is characterized by an enhanced working environment, an effective performance management system, enhanced training, and career progression to improve the skill set at all levels of the Police Force,” Drigo remarked.
“Therefore,” he continued, “it is the expectation of the Police Welfare Association that the aforementioned modernized workforce will enable officers to operate from a culture where its members’ performance is aligned with the organizational goals and objectives and members are rewarded commensurate with performance.”