Thu | Aug 18, 2022

Prime Minister should urgently resolve industrial relations issues

Published:Tuesday | May 17, 2022 | 12:07 AM


This is an open letter to Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

We note the recent industrial relations challenges that have emerged publicly in recent times, and it was also expected that you would have responded quickly and publicly in some instances.

We have the impression that you are unaware of the age of some of these issues that have been agreed and signed to by the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) or its representatives, but not implemented over the last 15 years or more.

In at least one instance, your signature appears on an agreement between the GOJ and the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions in matters relating to the postal agents, where you agreed and signed to resolve the issue “once and for all”.

There are a number of other issues of national importance that must be brought to your attention, if you are not yet aware.

1. Jamaica Public Service Company Limited – There has been no wage adjustment for the main technical and administrative workers since January 1, 2019. The Government appointed board members and the line ministry is aware of the issue.

2. Petrojam Limited – There is an outstanding agreed job evaluation exercise since 2011.

3. Financial Services Commission – The job evaluation exercise completed and submitted for implementation since 2018-19 is outstanding. The board has recently acknowledged receipt of our letter to them regarding this long outstanding issue.

4. National Housing Trust – The implementation of an agreed and completed job evaluation exercise is outstanding. This issue, among others, would have led to a group of workers at the entity coming out and venting their frustration recently.

5. Postal agents – The reclassification of these workers from contractors to employees, as their present classification is in breach of all laws and conventions, some of which the GOJ is a signatory.

6. Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited – There are outstanding increment payments (2008-2020) agreed to by the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and the Ministry of Transport and Mining.

Mr Prime Minister, we urge you to have an urgent review of all government agencies and departments, in order to establish whether there are any critical issues that are outstanding, and if any of those issues would likely impact the objective of a fair and efficient implementation of the ‘new’ compensation review policy.

We note the apparent support of the ‘new’ compensation review by both sides of the House of Representatives, which is not normal at such an early stage of the process. We ask that consideration be given to the compensation model for the members of the Upper House. We are sure that despite the presence of two trade unionists in Upper House, they will never seek to represent themselves.

We urge you to use your good office to attend to these issues with urgency.