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Union warns of islandwide shutdown if gov't does not improve wage offer

Published:Tuesday | May 12, 2015 | 1:53 PM

The Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) says the government risks an islandwide shutdown if it maintains its current wage offer and unions could commit suicide if they accept.

The Government has offered a five per cent increase in basic wages and minister with responsibility for public service Horace Dalley says the government can do no better.

However, Chairman of the JCTU's Public Sector Committee, Keith Comrie, says Dalley's statement is irresponsible.

He adds that the Government has started the process wrongly by making an offer it knows unions will never accept.

Meanwhile, he says the low offer from the Government and the tardiness by some unions in submitting claims will cause the negotiation process to be drawn out.

Comrie says he does not expect a new wage agreement until August.

Many unions have expressed frustration with the pace of the negotiations for the new wage agreement following a five year wage freeze that ended in March.

The Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) has encouraged its more than 20,000 members to wear black in protest.

The JTA and the JCTU represent almost 100,000 public sector workers and have requested a 25 to 30 per cent increase in basic wages.