Gov't 'disrespectful' to J'can workers, violating ILO convention — PNP

Thursday, March 08, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The People's National Party (PNP) has condemned the “dictatorial conduct” of the Prime Minister Andrew Holness government which it says is seeking to “unilaterally circumvent” the collective bargaining negotiation process with the Jamaica Teachers Association (JTA).

The Opposition, in a release today, expressed full solidarity with the JTA and all other public sector workers such as nurses, police and all workers unions, including those in the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions, who are insisting on their constitutional right of free collective bargaining and the right of freedom of association.

“The provocative conduct of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service is a violation of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 98 which guarantees the right to collective bargaining,” said the PNP, adding that Jamaica is a signatory to this convention.

The PNP further argued that the government conduct also violates the Decent Work Agenda of the ILO as well as the Labour Relation Code of Jamaica.

“This despicable conduct by the Holness administration sets a terrible example for the private sector to be similarly disrespectful to Jamaican workers and their trade unions,” continued the PNP, noting that it will “firmly” resist this intrusion on the sacred rights of the Jamaican workers.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement on the issue, Opposition Spokesperson on Education, Ronald Thwaites said the government, with this move, is throwing the "teachers a bone and by back-door inference, seeking to tie them into an unfair settlement which will make them worse off because of inflation, is disrespectful and will harm the much-needed transformation of the education sector”.

He added that this is a blatant attempt aimed at breaking union solidarity and indicates cynical divide and rule tactics.

The Opposition is calling on all Jamaicans to loudly raise their voices and take a stand against what it described as a “dictatorial tendency of a government that is uncaring and insensitive to the needs of the Jamaican workers”.

“We call on the government of Jamaica to show respect, notes the release from the JTA, informing of Government' collective bargaining and immediately withdraws intention to execute payment on the first year of the 2017-2019 wage offer,” PNP stated.




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