Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Public sector could be 'sick' they are unhappy with Monday's talk

Published:Saturday | January 6, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Assistant General Secretary of The Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) Clifton Grant (left) in conversation with Helene Davis Whyte, president of the JCTU, at a press conference held at the JCTU offices at 1A Hope Boulevard, yesterday.

The Jamaica Confederations of Trade Unions (JCTU) has urged the Andrew Holness-led Cabinet to consider all public-sector workers, not just the police, at Monday's meeting. This, as government employees are growing increasingly restive with wage talks and have indicated their intent to take industrial action soon.

Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, JCTU vice-president in charge of public sector affairs O'Neil Grant stated that the JCTU could not guarantee that there would not be more "widespread sickness" across the public sector next week, particularly if Monday's talks are not favourable.

"The ball is in the Government's court to give us the information, assurances, and confidence that we need to go back to the workers and express to them that there is that that light at the end of the tunnel - and that light is not three per cent in year one and three per cent in year two, and it is not four per cent in year one or two per cent in year two because that is a worse offer than three and three," Grant argued.

He continued: "If the Government does not signal to us something that we can take back to the workers, we cannot guarantee that there will be normalcy. We cannot guarantee that come next week, teachers will be turning out or remain on the job. We cannot guarantee that there will not be more sickness across the public sector because people are just falling ill based on the fact that they're physically stressed because the Government is not treating them properly."

Grant further added that the confederation could not continue to advise workers to "hold strain" in the face of a government that is not responding to the overtures it has been making in relation to being flexible and innovative to deal with the issue of wage increases.

"They would look at us and call us idiots if we continue to tell them that," said Grant.

Speaking earlier, President of the JCTU, Helene Davis Whyte, described the Government's six per cent wage offer as a slap in the face of public sector workers, stating that it was below the rate of inflation.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com