Gov’t Looking to Speed up Wage Talks

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (right), highlights a point while addressing a joint Government/ International Monetary Fund (IMF) media briefing on Friday (November 17). Looking on is the IMF’s Managing Director, Christine Lagarde. The briefing was held at the Office of the Prime Minister.

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is working to quickly resolve issues relating to the 2017/19 public sector wage negotiations.
  • He noted that while it was not expected that unions and other stakeholders would immediately accept the offer put forward by the Government, the negotiations have not been progressing at a reasonable pace.
  • He said he has held discussions with Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, and his team to see “how we can improve that dialogue, improve the communication and build the trust and credibility on both sides of the conversation”, adding that “that exercise will have to be intensified”.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is working to quickly resolve issues relating to the 2017/19 public sector wage negotiations.

He noted that while it was not expected that unions and other stakeholders would immediately accept the offer put forward by the Government, the negotiations have not been progressing at a reasonable pace.

“There will always be a period of negotiation, a period of dialogue and communication and an exploration of what possibilities there might be that could ease the acceptance. That process has not moved apace as I… the International Monetary Fund (IMF)… and other stakeholders looking on would have liked,” he said.

Mr. Holness was speaking at a joint Government/IMF media briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister on Friday (November 17).

He said he has held discussions with Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, and his team to see “how we can improve that dialogue, improve the communication and build the trust and credibility on both sides of the conversation”, adding that “that exercise will have to be intensified”.

Mr. Holness stressed that it is crucial to conclude the negotiations, noting that “some amount of fiscal uncertainty” is created if the Government does not know what its wage obligations will be going into the new fiscal year.

The Prime Minister appealed to the unions to consider the offer, reassuring that the Government “will always maintain a respectful and collaborative stance in the negotiations”.

Public sector workers are being offered a six per cent wage increase over two years.

The media briefing was held following bilateral talks with the IMF’s Managing Director, Christine Lagarde.

Ms. Lagarde participated in a one-day IMF 2017 High Level Caribbean Forum at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on November 16.

She also met with women leaders today, and visited the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) where she engaged in an interactive session with students.

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