Wed | Sep 26, 2018

Get creative with wage negotiations

Published:Tuesday | November 21, 2017 | 12:48 AM


Having been in the public sector for more than two decades, I have seen a number of wage negotiations, and never once were they concluded without problems. Where I think successive governments, federations, associations, and trade unions have all gone wrong over the years is that most times these wage negotiations begin with cash as the sole or primary trading tool. Here are a few ways that other benefits can be negotiated.

1. The Government should subdivide and offer plots of Crown land to workers instead of money.

2. The Government should set aside a certain number of spaces in colleges and universities fully paid for, or 50 per cent paid for, for the children of public-sector workers. That could be used as a bargaining chip instead of offering a flimsy salary increase.

3. The Government should forge a written agreement with public-sector workers that when the economy gains a certain percentage of growth, profits will be paid as wage increases. For example, 30 per cent of the excess made.

4. Reduce the number of ranks in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and cut the officer corps by about 50 per cent. Most of those officers are not needed. Besides commissioner, deputy commissioner, superintendent assistant superintendent, all other ranks are just roles being duplicated several times over. The hundreds of millions of dollars used to pay those persons in those unnecessary posts could be used to employ double the number of ordinary police constables and also increase their overall salary of all rank-and-file members by about 20 per cent.