The island’s Correctional Officers are the latest group of public sector workers to accept a wage restraint until 2015.
The Senior Uniformed Officers Association and the Jamaica Federation of Correctional Officers inked the Heads of Agreement at a ceremony, held at the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Heroes Circle, in Kingston, on May 16.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister with responsibility for the Public Service, Hon. Horace Dalley, commended the officers for the bold move they have made, particularly in light of the country’s fiscal constraints.
Mr. Dalley said during the period of wage restraint, the Government would ensure efficiency, harmony and better use of resources within the sector.
“We intend to work with our workers to ensure that during this period of wage restraint, that we do all that we can to ensure industrial harmony at the workplace; understanding between management and workers, to ensure that waste is reduced; (and) to ensure that efficiency is enhanced in all the public sector,” he said.
The Minister noted that wage restraint is one of the conditions of the government’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in ensuring that it is successful.
In the meantime, he said the Government is committed to narrowing the gap among the various uniformed groups in the island.
“We have programmed in the budget this year to start the process of the narrowing of the gap between the groups- Jamaica Constabulary Force, Jamaica Defence Force, Correctional officers and the Fire Brigade officers. We will not be able to close the gap, but the administration is determined to narrow the gap between these various uniformed groups,” the Minister said.
For his part, Commissioner of Corrections, Lt. Col. G. Sean Prendergast, who spoke on behalf of the groups, said they should be commended for the compromise they have made.
“It is to be recognised that there was some tough negotiations taking place behind the scenes and both groups should be commended for the compromise that they have reached that have led to the signing of these agreements,” he said.
Meanwhile, President of the Senior Uniformed Officers Association, Leslie Campbell, said the decision was taken in the best interest of the country.
“It is a hard road that we have to travel, but after consulting with our senior officers, we realise that the Government needs help and so we have decided to come on board,” he said.
In his remarks, Chairman of the Jamaica Federation of Correctional Officers, Arlington Turner, said the organization is looking forward to continue working with the Government to ensure that the officers receive the best benefits possible.
Contact: Chris Patterson