Trade union, Government to meet this afternoon to discuss public sector workers wages
Representatives of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) and the finance ministry are set to meet this afternoon to discuss the wage claim for public sector workers.
The JCTU, which represents about 40,000 public sector employees, has asked the Government for a 30 per cent increase in basic wages for workers over two years.
This afternoon’s meeting, which is scheduled for 2 p.m., will be used to clarify the wage claim before entering formal talks.
The JCTU says based on what was presented in the budget tabled last week, there’s need for clarification on possible changes in the deadline for the reduction of the public sector wage bill to nine per cent of GDP, initially set for the 2015/2016 fiscal year.
Last week President of the Jamaica Civil Service Association Oniel Grant said with the government budgeting only $6.5 billion for wages in the upcoming fiscal year, the association now has an idea of how much room there is for negotiations.
He has acknowledged that the negotiation process will be difficult.
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.