26 September 2023

JAMAICA: Majority support for public sector reform

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Jamaica’s Ministry of Finance and the Public Service has reached agreement with the majority of public sector unions under the umbrella of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions on a restructured public sector compensation system.

The unions, ranging from the Nurses’ Association of Jamaica to the Jamaica Civil Service Association and the Jamaica Association of Local Government Officers, represent approximately 60,000 employees.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Nigel Clarke said it was a momentous development, given the four years of work that went into designing the new compensation system and the extensive period of consultation with unions.

“We set out on this journey in 2018, and we would not be here without the partnership with the unions who agreed to a four-year wage deal that allowed this work to commence,” Dr Clarke (pictured) said.

“We engaged consultants and shared the results with our union partners,” he said.

“Since that time, we have held several rounds of consultations, and I am pleased that we have been able to achieve consensus even as the Ministry continues to work through some finer points with the unions and staff associations.”

Describing the signing as a “watershed moment in the transformation into a modern Public Service”, Dr Clarke said the existing compensation system did not serve the needs of the public sector or the country as a whole.

“I want to encourage those that are still reviewing the Government’s proposal to complete that review in short order,” the Minister said.

“Time is of the essence.

“Every public sector worker will be better off financially when the new system is implemented.”

The new compensation system is to be phased in over three years with an effective starting date of 1 April this year.

It is expected to cost approximately $JMD120 billion ($A1.1 billion) over that period.

Kingston, 20 November 2022

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