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The Government has completed the health sector reclassification, which is to be implemented over three years, at a cost of $7 billion.

This was announced by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and Planning (with responsibility for the Public Service), Hon. Horace Dalley, during his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House on July 2.

“This exercise has been ongoing for almost ten years…The first payment under the new classification for the health sector is scheduled for this quarter,” Mr. Dalley noted.

He explained that due to the complexity of the health sector, the reclassification exercise “may not be perfect,” but it will substantially streamline the occupational groupings in the health sector.

There will be a Reclassification Appeals Tribunal to address anomalies, which may arise. The tribunal will have representation from the various groups within the health sector.

Meanwhile, the Minister informed that Cabinet has instructed that the outstanding industrial issues of some eight other groups are to be addressed.

These include: emergency duty allowance (2008 to 2010) for Government Medical Consultants; outstanding payment of allowances (2008 to 2010) for Veterinary Officers; payment of new rates (2010 to 2011) for West Indies Group of University Teachers (settled); realignment issues (2007 to 2011) for Education Officers (settled); relativity study between security groups for fire-fighters (payment programmed); relativity study between security groups for Correctional Officers (payment programmed); adjustment to duty rates (2008 to 2010) for Medical Doctors (payment programmed); and the delinking of salaries for legal officers from High Court Judges’ salaries(in Court).

“You cannot engender trust among your employees when you have signed Heads of Agreements, and court rulings and IDT awards are left on the table to languish, because there is no respect for the sanctity of contracts and collective bargaining agreements,” he stated.

Mr. Dalley said this is in conflict with good industrial relations practice. “This administration will not behave in such a manner, so we will settle these outstanding issues and ensure that there is no repeat of this type of behaviour on the part of the government of Jamaica,” the Minister said.

Contact: Alphea Saunders