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Government looks to MOU4

Published:Thursday | January 7, 2010 | 12:00 AM


The Government says it does not expect to receive individual claims from the more than 70 bargaining groups representing public-sector workers, three months before a new contract period is scheduled to get under way.

State minister in the Ministry of Finance with responsibility for the public service, Arthur Williams, told The Gleaner that he did not expect trade unions to file claims, within the context of the announcement of a continuation of the wage freeze.

"In the face of the prime minister's statement, I don't expect public-sector groups to file wage claims," Williams said.

However, Williams said the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) has submitted wage claims.

"The JTA submitted their claims yesterday (Tuesday)," Williams disclosed.

Government confident

At the same time, Williams asserted that the Government was confident that it would be able to forge a fourth memorandum of understanding (MOU) with labour organisations representing public-sector workers.

This is despite misgivings in some sections of the industrial landscape that the prime minister had pronounced MOU3 dead with his statement to Parliament.

Last week, trade union leaders, including president of the National Workers' Union, Vincent Morrison, and the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union Kavan Gayle raised concerns that Golding had made an announcement before discussing the issue with them.

Williams said yesterday that trade union representatives had conveyed their concerns to the Government.

"It is not out of any disrespect but out of interest for the country," Williams said.

He added that these were among a range of issues being discussed with the prime minister.

But Williams told The Gleaner that notwithstanding these challenges, the Government would be pushing for yet another memorandum of understanding, MOU4.

He said that intention had been conveyed to trade union leaders.

"I fully expect another MOU agreement will be hammered out within the context of the challenges confronting the Government," said Williams.