Thu | Nov 15, 2018

Shaw pushes to conclude public-sector wage talks

Published:Monday | January 22, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Finance Minister Audley Shaw

As the Government and public-sector workers continue tough wage negotiations to conclude the two-year wage agreement ending financial year 2019-2020,, Finance and the Public Service Minister Audley Shaw says the administration was seeking to reach a speedy settlement with all groups.

He said that in the final negotiations, the Government was looking creatively at the area of housing to provide more solutions for various categories of public-service workers.

"I want to be able to pay the first year's obligations which is the current fiscal year, including the arrears. Whatever the final agreement (in the negotiations), there will be the arrears to April of last year, and so it is even more important that we conclude so that we can pay out of the present revenue and not seek to contend with multiple years of arrears," Shaw told The Gleaner.

Shaw's comments came last week at the signing of an agreement between the Government of Jamaica and its Italian counterpart to eliminate double taxation.

He also indicated that the Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure for financial year 2018-2019 will be tabled in the House of Representatives during the second week in February, in keeping with the fiscal responsibility framework under the agreement with the International Monetary Fund. The Budget Debate will commence in March and end the same month to allow for the Government to start the new fiscal year in April with an approved Budget.

Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness met with senior trade union leaders representing public-sector workers at Jamaica House.

The trade unions had asked for the intervention of the prime minister after failing to reach an agreement with the Ministry of Finance following prolonged negotiations.