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  • The Board of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) says it is fully committed to safeguarding the rights of its workers.
  • The assurance comes against the background of ongoing wage negotiations between the authority and air traffic controllers for the 2015/17 contract period.
  • Speaking at a JIS Think Tank on Friday (September 4), JCAA Board Chairman, B. St. Michael Hylton, said that while recognising that the entity is part of the public sector and subject to similar constraints experienced by other state entities, it is also “conscious of the challenges that our employees face.”

The Board of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) says it is fully committed to safeguarding the rights of its workers.

The assurance comes against the background of ongoing wage negotiations between the authority and air traffic controllers for the 2015/17 contract period.

Speaking at a JIS Think Tank on Friday (September 4), JCAA Board Chairman, B. St. Michael Hylton, said that while recognising that the entity is part of the public sector and subject to similar constraints experienced by other state entities, it is also “conscious of the challenges that our employees face.”

Deputy Board Chairman, Wilford “Billy” Heaven, in underscoring the position said: “we respect our workers and we are committed to the process of training them, helping them to grow, and to make sure that they have a good and conducive environment in which to work.”

He noted however, that like all other government agencies, the JCAA continues to operate under the strictures of a statutory organisation that is compliant with Government of Jamaica (GoJ) guidelines, and the “exigencies of our national economic environment.”

“We believe that things must be done properly and in order, in keeping with all the regulations, requirements, international standards, and the industry in which we are operating, and the sensitivities (associated with the industry),” he argued.

Mr. Heaven said the JCAA continues to rely on air traffic controllers for their “diligence, integrity, and commitment to duty,” in providing the essential, safe, and reliable services on which the local and international communities “have come to depend.”

 

The Deputy Chairman gave the assurance that the JCAA’s management continues to work with the various bargaining units, including the Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association (JATCA), to achieve a “successful completion of the ongoing wage negotiations.”

Mr. Heaven said the board believes the entity should provide equitable service to all its stakeholders, pointing out that any dispute within the industry will have a domino effect, incurring losses not only to the authority, but also to the tourism industry, airports, and airlines.

“Within the context of our responsibility to the global public that we serve, anything that happens within even a little nation impacts the world of aviation. So whatever happens here will impact the travelling public as far as you can imagine and that is something that we have to be mindful of,” he noted.

He also pointed out that Jamaica is a signatory to a number of tnternational treaties, such as the Chicago Convention, which requires a certain level of cooperation in aviation.

“So, we have an obligation to all of our stakeholders, inclusive of the management and staff…we do not operate in isolation,” Mr. Heaven said, adding that “we are also an essential service and there are processes in place (to ensure) that the public is not put at risk.”