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Trade union seeks 30 per cent wage increase for public sector workers

Published:Monday | February 23, 2015 | 11:52 AMJovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

The Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) has asked the Government for a 30 per cent increase in basic wages for public sector workers.

JCTU vice president, Helene Davis-Whyte, says the union has requested that the increase takes place over two years, 15 percent for 2015/16 and the remaining 15 per cent for the financial year 2016/2017.

The JCTU which represents about 40 thousand public sector workers, will meet tomorrow with government negotiators to clarify the wage claim before entering formal talks.

However, Davis-Whyte is acknowledging that the workers she represents may not get exactly what has been requested.


JCTU vice president, Helene Davis-Whyte

Arising from last week’s Budget presentation, Davis White says there’s need for clarification on possible changes in the deadline for the reduction of the public sector wage bill to nine percent of GDP, initially set for the 2015/2016 fiscal year.

According to her, a one-year extension to attain the GDP-public sector wage bill ratio would give more flexibility to structure the wage bill for the upcoming fiscal year.  


JCTU vice president, Helene Davis-Whyte

The reduction of the wage bill is a key element of Jamaica’s programme with the International Monetary Fund.

Programmes with the IMF have frozen wages for public sector workers since 2010.

Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips has warned unions to be realistic with their claims, noting that any significant increase will threaten economic reforms under the current IMF programme.