JCTU wants contract employment reversed
Concerns raised by President General of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union, Senator Kavan Gayle, about the increasing number of contract workers in the public sector and how this denies them pension benefits have resonated with head of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), Helene Davis-Whyte.
In his contribution to a recent debate on the Pensions Bill in the Senate, Gayle indicated that for years the public sector has increasingly embraced a policy of fixed-term employment contracts. He said there have been contracts spanning five, three and one year, and, in recent times, a mere six months.
He said this has prevented a number of public-sector employees from participating in pension arrangements.
Gayle called for a reversal of contract employment and the recruitment of workers on a permanent basis.
"This precarious nature of these employees excludes them from enjoying the social-security provisions such as pensions, and it is a very serious thing," he stressed.
Davis-Whyte told The Gleaner that the JCTU has expressed concern about contract employment and the nature of the contracts.
She noted that in the 2012-2015 heads of agreement, the Government had given a commitment that it would only employ persons on contract in circumstances where the job is not of a permanent nature.
"We are still grappling with it, though, due to the fact that we still see evidence of it happening. A lot of professionals, in particular a number of our doctors and nurses, are on shorter-term contracts and they really are engaged in precarious work," Davis-Whyte said.