Wed | Aug 22, 2018

Air traffic controllers say wage talks unproductive

Published:Saturday | July 21, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Maintaining that the island's air traffic controllers (ATCs) are being "grossly underpaid", the Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association (JATCA) says that it is contemplating "taking action" after a series of unproductive wage talks with the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA).

In a statement yesterday, the JATCA, the bargaining unit representing the ATCs, said that the negotiations had stalled since April 2018 with no official word from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service (MOF and PS) concerning the items tabled by the association.

NO REAL NEGOTIATIONS

"The JATCA has been largely unable to begin any real negotiations owing to the posture of the MOF and PS in relation to the negotiations between the employers (JCAA) and employees (ATCs)," the statement read.

"The JATCA has been bargaining for a reclassification exercise for the past six years, and although we have obtained scientific data showing that our island's ATCs are being grossly underpaid when compared to some of our closest neighbours, the JCAA and the MOF and PS have been unable to resolve these negotiations suitably," the JATCA continued.

The JATCA further indicated that the ministry's "posturing" had made the association restive for two primary reasons.

It argued, firstly, that its wage claim contained growth strategies that would facilitate positive discussion between the employer and employee. Yet the response received from the MOF and PS would, seemingly, suggest that these kinds of discussions are not to be facilitated.

Second, the association contends that the ministry appears yet again to be interfering with the negotiations and operates with a double standard in relation to the interactions that the association is allowed between employer and employee.

"The JATCA is vested and very interested in assisting in the development of much-needed revenue, generating strategies that we believe would serve the interests of the flying public, our employers and Jamaica on a whole. However, yet again, given the lengthy delays that we have endured alongside our public sector colleagues, we must now consider strong, decisive action in going forward," the release read.