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Story Highlights

  • The Government will seek to address several concerns of public sector workers as it prepares to begin negotiations for the new 2015-2017 wage agreement.
  • Minister Dalley pointed out that one of the issues the Government will work to resolve, is the question of the sustainability of some of the allowances payable in the health sector.
  • Also to be discussed is the matter of personal deductions not being remitted by the government agencies on behalf of workers.

The Government will seek to address several concerns of public sector workers as it prepares to begin negotiations for the new 2015-2017 wage agreement.

This was disclosed by Minister with responsibility for the Public Service in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Hon. Horace Dalley during his contribution to the 2014/15 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 8.

“The framework for those discussions is now being developed and as an administration, we will continue to take the workers’ representatives in our confidence as we move forward,” he said.

The Minister pointed out that one of the issues the Government will work to resolve, is the question of the sustainability of some of the allowances payable in the health sector (on-call, overtime, sessions), which he noted, have been the subject of recent disagreements between the health professionals and the management of some regional health authorities.

“We will sit with our workers, we will sit with their union representatives and we will try to find an amicable way to resolve these issues,” he stated.

He noted that already, the Ministers of Health, Education and National Security, which employ the majority of workers, have started to talk to unions and their representatives about “changing the format of how the Government operates”.

Also to be discussed is the matter of personal deductions not being remitted by the government agencies on behalf of workers.

Mr. Dalley noted that the Ministry of Finance remits deductions directly to the relevant tax authorities, through the Accountant General Department.

However, he said, personal deductions to financial institutions (credit unions, commercial banks, loan companies, insurance companies, etc) “continue to be taken by several government entities from workers’ salary and are not being remitted on time to these institutions. In some areas, this has become a crisis.”

Minister Dalley noted that although the Ministry of Finance two weeks ago, “found some money to deal with the most urgent ones, this is not something that can remain like this”.

“The Government will engage the workers in discussion on how this facility can become more efficient and mutually beneficial to all parties. These matters will be included in the upcoming talks for the next period,” he assured.