Gov't, nurses sign new wage agreement

Thursday, September 13, 2018

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GOVERNMENT and the Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ) yesterday signed a new wage and fringe benefits agreement.

“With the signing of this agreement approximately 80 per cent of public sector workers are now covered under a four-year wage agreement. This concludes months of discussions with the Nurses Association of Jamaica which were conducted in an atmosphere of transparency and mutual respect,” Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke said at a signing ceremony at his ministry in Kingston.

In June 2017, the Government received a 22-point claim for improvements in salaries and fringe benefits for the 2017/2019 contract period from the NAJ, which represented a large cadre of health professionals, the finance ministry said yesterday.

Among the key points in the agreement are:

• increases in salary and salary-related allowances of five per cent in year one; two per cent in year two; four per cent in year three; and five per cent in year four;

• an increase in the amount for the provision of scholarships at the masters' level from $1 million to $1.5 million per scholarship and an increase in the amount available for tertiary grants to nurses from $5 million to $8 million per annum; and

• the provision of four 30-seater buses to the Ministry of Health to assist with the transportation of nurses who work on late shifts and one 15 -seater for the NAJ's office to assist generally.

“As a Government, we understand the concerns which include the need for additional staffing, improvements in the working conditions and the provision of adequate equipment for all health facilities. It is our commitment that over time we will address these concerns to ensure the delivery of optimal health care for our citizens,” Dr Clarke said.

The minister thanked the NAJ for “their leadership, understanding and support as we, together, continue to put Jamaica on the path to economic independence and the achievement of our Vision 2030 goals”.

The finance minister acknowledged the contribution of Health Minister Christopher Tufton and Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of finance, Fayval Williams, in the successful conclusion of the negotiations.

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