Gov’t, civil servants agree on method to settle issues
O'Neil W Grant

Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA) President O’Neil Grant says the association and the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service have agreed on a methodology to quickly settle their outstanding issues.

Grant, in a release yesterday, said “there is a commitment to return to the negotiating table within a week to advance these discussions”.

He described Wednesday’s meeting with Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke as “very positive and reflecting the mood of the Ministry of Finance, the labour movement and, in particular, the JCSA to restore calm to the industrial relations climate in the public sector”.

This followed the association’s 72-hour strike notice threat last weekend, which led to a meeting on Friday and the eventual decision for both parties to commit to strengthen “the harmonious relationship” between them.

He said that the outcome was a decision to have a series of meetings over the next few weeks, beginning with the talks on Wednesday.

He recalled Thursday that the central issues which led to the threat were (i) the JCSA’s position that its 2021/22 claim be settled in advance of the implementation of the compensation review, and (ii) the JCSA’s concerns with respect to the proposed discontinuation of negotiated benefits, as part of the compensation review.

With respect to the former issue, Grant confirmed that the JCSA has received assurances from the minister that the 2021/22 claim will be speedily addressed in good faith. He said that the ministry has committed to re-examining the JCSA’s 2021-2022 claim, as it relates to transport allowances, by setting up a “technical review” team

He also noted that the minister has expressed his openness to feedback on the proposed discontinuation of JCSA negotiated benefits, and further reiterated commitment to dialogue “in a spirit of good industrial relations”.

Grant said that in relation to the compensation review, the JCSA will be operating on a parallel track by ensuring that it members, and the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions add weight to the responses and general feedback on the more contentious aspects of the review, with a view to settling them and preserving the accepted July implementation dateline.

“The JCSA reiterates its commitment to ensuring stability in the public sector, while we safeguard and affirm the legitimate interest and concerns of our members and the wider public service,” Grant said.

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