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The Jamaica Confederation will be hosting a press conference on Friday January 5, 2018 at 10 am at its offices at 1a Hope Boulevard Kingston 6 to outline its position regarding the wage negotiations with the Government involving the Unions representing Public Sector Workers.
The government has indicated that it cannot increase the wage offer as it will impair its ability to achieve the wage to GDP target of 9%. This it says is the agreement with the IMF.
The JCTU and its member Unions have indicated to the government that its inability to conduct serious negotiations is not only undermining the Collective Bargaining Process but is posing a clear and present danger to the economic program.
We the Trade Union Movement takes note that the economic targets under the Stand By Arrangement with the IMF are being met but growth has been elusive. We recognise that the only way to sustainably deal with the issue of wage to GDP is to grow the economy not constrain wages.
We further understand that the 3% increase offer will amount to $5.4Billion and that the government has not indicated a cash flow problem related to the payment of wages hence the constraint continues to be the legislated 9% of GDP.
It is our position that any increase below the current and projected rate of inflation will cause the workers who have absorbed a 60% reduction in their purchasing power to be further impacted by the current offer by the government.
We note that since 2004 there has been no serious unrest in the general public sector and that there is now a climate of serious restiveness among public offices due to the government’s approach to these negotiations.
We call on the government to negotiate with the various unions in the public sector in a creative and flexible manner taking note of all the various interests with a view to reaching a compromise.
We are prepared to expound on our position and indicate our next steps at the press conference on Friday.
Contact: O’Neil W. Grant – Vice President, Public Sector Affairs
Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions