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Government begins talks with unions

Published:Monday | January 16, 2012 | 8:39 AM

Jerome Reynolds, Gleaner Writer

Trade unions and the government have begun talks on critical issues in the public sector.

At the start of the weekend, union leaders met with Horace Dalley, the Minister without Portfolio with responsibility for the Public Service.

Describing the meeting as introductory talks, Vice President of the Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), Helene Davis-Whyte said unions put forward their main areas of concerns.

Among the matters are the implementation of the health sector reclassification, the 2010-2012 wage claims and the public sector transformation and modernisation programme.

Davis-Whyte said unions are eagerly awaiting an official meeting with the Government to address the issues.

There have been jitters among some public sector workers and their unions, since former Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that there will be some bitter medicine, as the country seeks to meet its fiscal obligations.

Jamaica has agreed to, among other things, bring down the public-sector wage bill to nine per cent of Gross Domestic Product and to develop a new format for wage negotiations.