Wage offer a slap in the face
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Perhaps the public sector does not understand the wage proposal put on the table from the Government.
After having a wage freeze for five years, the Government has decided to give a five per cent increase - three per cent in the first year and two per cent in the second year. This was after taking into consideration the fact that the dollar has diminished in value considerably and inflation was, up to last year, running in double-digit figures for at least three years of the five. There has not been one year of deflation within this five-year period. Not to mention the level of taxation levied against the populace over this period. Some are quick to say the spending power of Jamaicans has diminished by more than 40 per cent. The Government, after considering all of this, has offered an increase which seems paltry if looked at as bare figures.
What the public sector seems to be missing is that the Government must be offering three per cent increase retroactive to 2009 in the first year and two per cent, retroactively also, for the period under review. That would at least put back public-sector workers in a position where the erosion of their spending power would not be totally restored but would give them a chance to make up some of the lost ground in terms of the depreciation of their assets and other things over the five years that they were not able to maintain.
For this five per cent wage increase to be interpreted in any other way would be a slap in the face of the pubic-sector workers of this country.