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Prime Minister Bruce Golding says government’s macro economic programme requires a freeze on the public sector wage bill.
“The amount of wages is not something that we can go around having discussions and negotiations about. The Government has to determine in its macro economic programme what is possible for wages.”
Prime Minister Golding said that the wage bill has been increased at an estimated 50 percent over two years. In 2007/08, the bill was $86B and was increased to $126B in 2009/10.
Mr. Golding told Parliament yesterday (Jan. 26) during the medium-term economic plan debate that, “It’s not that we have employed more people. It is the people who were there who were getting $86B two years ago who are today getting $126B so no one could ever say that this government has been unreasonable in its treatment of public sector workers. But we have had to say that we’re going to have to hold it there for the next two fiscal years in order to give this country a chance” Mr. Golding said.
He added that the public sector workers who are due retroactive payments will get it over time as it cannot be paid in one fiscal year.
The PM said the Unions could not argue that the government has not consulted with them as to date, nine meetings have been held at Jamaica House with their leadership and this does not include informal meetings. He added that in previous discussions with principal leaders of the trade unions, he had indicated that the IMF programme would be so tight that freezing the wage bill would be unavoidable.