The massive impact of COVID-19 on government revenue this fiscal year has seemingly tempered the expectations of trade unions as the new round of public-sector wage talks draws closer. However, two senior trade unionists are eager to see the results of the Government’s public-sector salary review, which was expected to have been completed this month.
The finance ministry informed government agencies and public bodies in May 2019 that the Public Sector Transformation Programme had embarked on a service-wide compensation review aimed at a comprehensive restructuring of the compensation systems in the public sector.
It says the new system will provide for clarity, equity, predictability, and simplicity in the administration of compensation across the public sector to include all salary and allowances.
President of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions, Helene Davis Whyte, said the Government’s commitment to provide for equity, among other things, as part of the review, would be taken very seriously by the unions. However, she noted that the unions could not ignore the realities of the time in which negotiations are taking place, even as she acknowledged the severe impact the pandemic has had on the country’s economy.