KINGSTON — Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Senator Arthur Williams, has urged the Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ) to be reasonable in how it handles the current dispute with Government over wage and fringe benefits issues.
The Minister was responding to a five-day ultimatum issued by the NAJ, effective Monday, seeking settlement of several issues, including the non-implementation of a reclassification exercise.
Senator Williams reminded the NAJ that all the issues are being discussed by the Public Sector Monitoring Committee (PSMC), and requested that they make their position known at the table, if their views differ from the PSMC. He reiterated that the aim of the PSMC is to present, where possible, recommendations accepted to all public sector groups.
In response to the nurses demand that “the Government immediately fix a date for the implementation of the reclassification exercise for registered nurses”, Senator Williams said that nurses who participated in the review are aware that the panel, just recently, completed the task assigned and that the nurses were told a week ago that the Report of the Review Panel will be handed to allHealth Sector groups, tomorrow, Tuesday, April 5.
“When received, the report will have to be analysed and placed before Cabinet for a decision,” he said.
In response to the NAJ’s claim that the PSMC has proposed a reduction in leave entitlement for registered nurses, Senator Williams says that the committee considering public sector leave arrangements, on which the NAJ had representation, had made no recommendations.
He said that it was unfair for the NAJ to make such claims. He added that this was of concern to the other members of the sub-committee, who felt that the issues being discussed were inaccurately represented to the public.
He said that while the NAJ has said that its membership have rejected, outright, the non-cash alternative to the seven percent wage increase, the association did not convey this differing view during the discussions. He also made it clear that other public sector workers are demanding that the Government institute the non-cash alternatives.
By BALFORD HENRY, JIS Reporter & Editor