Unions want further talks with Gov't on wage issues

Unions want further talks with Gov't on wage issues

Friday, August 07, 2015

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TWO senior members of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) have called for meetings between the confederation and the Government before any final decision is taken on pay increases for the public sector.


Chairman of the JCTU's Public Sector Committee, Keith Comrie, says he will be demanding further talks with the minister with responsibility for the public sector, Horace Dalley, before making a decision on signing the Heads of Agreement sent to them on Friday.


JCTU Vice-President Wesley Nelson says that he will be demanding that the confederation call a meeting of the 11 unions bargaining under its umbrella to resolve their concerns about items in the Heads of Agreement.


Comrie, who heads the Union of Schools, Agricultural and Allied Workers (USAAW), says that his membership has concerns about several aspects of the proposed agreement, including how the $4,000 across-the-board increase will affect workers across pay scales.


Nelson, who is senior vice-president of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU), says that there are too many issues affecting their members for them to agree to sign the Heads of Agreement by next week without resolving them.


They have been supported by St Patrice Ennis, who heads the Union of Technical, Administrative and Supervisory Personnel (UTASP), and Barrington Dawes, head of the Trade Union Congress. All four unions are among the JCTU's 11.


The trade union leaders met at the BITU's head office, Duke Street in Kingston, on Friday, where they went through the claims and the responses from the Government. Their final decision was that there were too many concerns lingering for them to sign the agreement.


"The confederation will have to call a meeting with the unions to discuss the draft Heads of agreement and to hear these concerns before we make a decision," Comrie told the Jamaica Observer.


The Government has offered the 11 trade unions an increase of $4,000 across the board in 2015/16 and an additional three per cent in 2016/17, as part of a list of wage and fringe benefits improvements included in the proposed Heads of Agreement. However, the fact that the $4,000 means different percentages to different pay levels has been a major issue.



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