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No Wage Freeze
As the Government prepares to enter another round of wage negotiations with public-sector unions, the workers they represent have, through their union boss, signalled that under no circumstance will they be accepting another wage freeze.
"When the last negotiations were being concluded, we heard that we should expect another wage freeze, but I want to make it categorically clear that public-sector workers will not accept another wage freeze. We have lost our appetite for those sorts of things," Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA) President O'Neil Grant said when the possibility of another wage freeze was raised with him by The Gleaner.
Grant disclosed that the unions are in the process of finalising their claims, which are expected to be served on the Government in another two weeks. The submission of the claims will kick-start the official wage talks for 2017-2019, which, according to Grant, will be use, to alert the Government to the plight of public-sector workers.
When asked whether the Government's tax giveback, through the raising of the income tax threshold, was not, in effect, an increase in salaries for public-sector workers, the JSCA president was adamant that it did not represent a trade-off for a wage increase. He argued that the wage increase negotiated in the last round of negotiations and the income earned from the tax break have been nullified by the way in which they have been administered.
"Persons in the private sector would have benefited from the tax break and they are not being asked to forgo their increases, so why should we?" Grant asked.
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