Essential or 'allibutton': The plight of public sector workers
Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force stage a protestoutside the Supreme Court building in downtown Kingston as theirunion battled the Government inside over the non-payment ofovertime monies owed to them. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

Dear Editor,

'Wi want wi money,' is the cry of the rank and file members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) as they press the Government for overtime allowances owed to them for over a decade.

The officers were out in their numbers in Montego Bay and at the Justice Square in front of the Supreme Court on King Street in Kingston to give support to their union — Jamaica Police Federation — which has brought the Government to court.

The issue of increased salary has been a sore point for public sector workers, who have been crying foul over the starving 4 per cent increase that the Government is offering.

The workers are fuming over the Government's tardiness in paying over monies for COVID-19 work, summer school, and other important reimbursement for sweat and sacrifice.

The public servants argue that they are at a disadvantage working for the Government because they have been forced to leave the classrooms, guardrooms, and emergency rooms to wash their dirty laundry in public so that their voices can be heard.

The word 'essential' is defined as absolutely necessary or extremely important. The public servants of Jamaica do not feel important, ironically, in Civil Service Week, even though they do an absolutely necessary job.

Collectively, they have been asking: If we are important, why can't we be paid enough to meet our daily needs? Why can't the Government honour its simple obligation of paying a worthwhile salary to public servants?

These essential workers are not asking for $1-million dollar birthday cakes or $23 million dollars to be paid to them while on leave, but for the Government to be true to their word and “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's”.

Christmas is almost here and the only bonus civil servants know and understand is more work. In Jamaica, the term essential has become synonymous with 'allibutton' — one who works hard, but gets no reward.

The public sector workers now more than ever are looking to drain their brains from Jamaica to go to places that will treat them in the manner they deserve – essential. 'Tis the sad reality.

Hezekan Bolton

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