JIS News

Story Highlights

  • A $45 million fund for tertiary education grants is to be established for children of public sector workers, under the newly negotiated wage agreement for the 2015 to 2017 contract period.
  • This provision is among a number of benefits that will accrue to Government employees under the new contract which will see them receiving a salary increase of seven per cent over two years - four per cent in year one and three per cent in year two.
  • Following several months of negotiations, Government officials and representatives of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), representing some public sector workers, signed off on the Heads of Agreement on August 11, during a ceremony at the Office of the Prime Minister.

A $45 million fund for tertiary education grants is to be established for children of public sector workers, under the newly negotiated wage agreement for the 2015 to 2017 contract period.

This provision is among a number of benefits  that will accrue to Government employees under the new contract which will see them receiving a salary increase of seven per cent over two years – four per cent in year one and three per cent in year two.

Following several months of negotiations, Government officials and representatives of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), representing some public sector workers, signed off on the Heads of Agreement on August 11, during a ceremony at the Office of the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, who witnessed the inking of the contract, commended public sector workers for continuing to make great sacrifices in support of the country’s current economic programme for strengthening the Jamaican economy and society.

“I am grateful, especially to all our public sector workers for their patience, sacrifices and loyalty to Jamaica,” she said.

The Prime Minister noted that her administration takes seriously its responsibility for the prudent management of the affairs of the country, while ensuring that the best interest of employees are always protected and secured.

“I know very well the tremendous sacrifices being made by the people of Jamaica as we strengthen the economy and work to secure economic growth with equity, social inclusion and job creation,” she said.

Mrs. Simpson Miller further commended the trade unions and associations for their patience and understanding during the intense negotiations.

Pointing to some of the other benefits that public sector employees will enjoy under the new arrangement, Mrs. Simpson Miller said there will be increases to several allowances.

These relate to tailoring, meal, supper, taxi, refreshment, shift and night premium, special duty, subsistence, death benefit, and funeral grant.

She noted that it was also agreed that at least one land or housing project will be developed for this financial year.

“There is also agreement for the maintenance of benefits across the public sector. These benefits are: tertiary education loans; refund of tuition; grants to children of public sector workers; government transportation; and skills training,” the Prime Minister said.

Meanwhile,  Vice President, Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions, Helene Davis Whyte, said the wage increase agreed on is not one workers would have liked, but what was possible within the context of the economic situation in Jamaica.

“All in all, I think we were able to meet most of the demands that we had from our members…it is not the best deal in terms of what each of us would have wanted, but it is what we feel we can live with at this point in time,” she said.

Ms. Davis Whyte said she is pleased that the new wage package favours the lowest paid in the public sector.

For his part, Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, described the event as historic, noting that among other things, it signifies the continued commitment of the public sector unions to the economic reform programme that is underway.

He noted that no stakeholder, neither Government nor the unions achieved their ideal outcome, “but I think Jamaica will be the main beneficiary of this agreement.”

Minister with responsibility for the Public Service, Hon. Horace Dalley, who was the lead Government negotiator, said the deliberations were not easy, noting that the parties finally approved the 14th draft of the agreement.

He gave a commitment on behalf of the Government, “to personally ensure that every single aspect of this agreement is implemented as we have agreed.”