Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Public-sector reform inevitable, says Gayle - BITU head says change needed to boost growth

Published:Monday | January 23, 2017 | 1:00 AM

President of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union Kavan Gayle is urging Jamaicans to back the Government's efforts to reform the public sector despite the fears that massive job losses could follow.

"We need a public sector that is efficient and effective to satisfy the needs of the State and also support the private sector so that there can be growth. It cannot continue in the state that it is," Gayle told a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Kingston.

"Some call it restructuring, or public-sector rightsizing, or reform of the public sector. Whatever it is, every Jamaican needs to embrace that there ought to be some change in the public service."

According to the government senator, matters such as the potential benefits of mergers and privatisation need to be ventilated fully, with the ultimate aim of creating a more effective and efficient public sector.

"We need to have the discussions and the debate. If we don't change the way we do things, we are going to be continuously left behind.

"Labour must be at the heart of any growth agenda. However, you cannot have growth if you continue to promote the precarious nature of employment. You can't have growth if a worker is not satisfied that their terms and conditions of employment are going to be sustainable," said Gayle.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness recently declared that public sector transformation reform is a national policy and not an effort to trim the size of the public sector, despite

an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to reduce the ratio of wages: gross domestic product for the central government to no more than nine per cent from its present level of just over 10 per cent.

According to Holness, in the instances where jobs will be cut, this will not be done in a callous manner as there is no desire by the administration to separate persons from their incomes.