Thu | Jul 19, 2018

Trade union not convinced Government can't afford better wage offer

Published:Thursday | January 4, 2018 | 9:50 AM
The Minister of Finance offices located at National Heroes Circle in Kingston.

The Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) says it’s not convinced the government cannot afford to pay workers a wage increase of more than six per cent.

It says the only reason it can see for the government doggedly sticking to that offer is the nine per cent wage to gross domestic product (GDP) target it has set with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

According to the JCTU, its understanding is that a three per cent increase offer for year one would cost $5.4 billion.

However, it says the government has not indicated a cash flow problem related to the payment of wages.

The JCTU contends that any increase below the current and projected rate of inflation will cause the workers who have absorbed a 60 per cent reduction in their purchasing power to be further impacted.

The union says there has been no huge unrest in the general public sector since 2004, but there is now a climate of serious restiveness among public offices due to the government’s approach to these negotiations.

The JCTU is calling for the government to negotiate with the various unions in the public sector in a creative and flexible manner to reach a compromise.

It has called a press conference for tomorrow to outline its position regarding the wage negotiations and indicate its next steps.