POLICE WELFARE ASSOCIATION CHOOSES AUTONOMY
The Police Welfare Association, at a press conference on Wednesday, announced that it has cut ties with the Trade Union Federation (TUF). Their relationship began twelve years ago. Travis Chicot, President of the PWA, explained that the decision was made by way of a mandate from the membership, with the majority voting to part ways. The PWA president said they had “benefitted at some points” but stand now to do better on their own. Said Chicot: “We must understand we are existing at a time and in environment where we, the police force, must articulate, negotiate and agitate for what's best for our members.
“We all know the saying, 'To whom much is given, much is expected', and we know this has not been the case for the police. We have been given very little, while much has been expected.” Nevertheless, he says the force has produced much because police officers put the country first.
Chicot indicated that in the coming days and weeks the PWA will be articulating to the government its position regarding the needs and working conditions of members. “We are really pressing for fringe benefits,” he said. “We're looking for everything we can get from this country in equity because we continue to serve, and we continue to invest in this country as police officers.” He says the PWA believes that when cash cannot be given, something else can, “to bring ease” to police officers.
The TUF will continue to take responsibility for police salary negotiations. Will this arrangement cause difficulties? Chicot doesn't think so. He says the PWA will sit alongside the TUF to add their voice when required. The PWA's position on salaries is simple: they want an increase, and negotiations “must conclude before March 2019”. Chicot did not rule out possibly rejoining TUF.
Looking forward to a brighter 2019. (L-R) PWA Vice president Nigel Jawahir, president Travis Chicot and secretary Ajariah Francois.