Wed | Jan 29, 2020

JPS, union still at loggerheads as IDT orders end to sickout

Published:Wednesday | May 8, 2019 | 12:26 AMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer

Jamaicans should brace for the possibility of more power cuts as a breakdown in negotiations between the Union of Clerical, Administrative and Supervisory Employees (UCASE) and the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) could see workers employed to the company engaging in further industrial action.

Sections of the Corporate Area were plunged into darkness Monday night into Tuesday morning as commuters had to negotiate several congested intersections without working traffic lights.

Yesterday morning, the JPS reported that a number of employees did not report for their regular shifts and that it had activated its contingency plans in order to minimise disruption in service.

The power company also said that talks with UCASE would continue at the Industrial Dispute Tribunal yesterday morning, but UCASE General Secretary John Levy said he was not informed of that meeting until it had ended.

The IDT has since issued an order to cease industrial action and said workers should have resumed duties at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, though Levy said that was not practical.

“We have been meeting with JPS at the Ministry of Labour one full week and they have reneged on all the commitments that they have given, and based on our understanding – in a time where they are experiencing their best profit performance in 30 years – they have put the worst offer on the table,” said Levy.

Levy said JPS was practising “a level of deception” and that the company was “provoking the workers”.

He called for the Government to intervene, “not by going to any court, but to get involved as a shareholder, because the management has said it is the shareholders – which includes the Government – that are causing some of their inability to put a better offer on the table,” said Levy.

The Gleaner was unsuccessful in reaching the director of communications and customer experience at JPS, Winsome Callum, as calls to her number went unanswered.