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14 unions sign new public sector compensation agreement

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The Ministry of Finance and the Public Service (MOFPS) has reached an agreement with a number of major public sector trade unions, including a majority of the unions under the umbrella of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), on the new, restructured public sector compensation system.

Between Tuesday, November 15, and Thursday, November 17, 14 unions have signed with the MOFPS on the new compensation package, including, the Nurses’ Association of Jamaica (NAJ), Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA), the Jamaica Workers Union, the Union of Schools Agricultural and Allied Workers Union, the Union of Public and Private Employees, the Jamaica Association of Local Government Officers (JALGO), the Jamaica Midwives’ Association, the Council of Paramedics, and the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU).

The ministry, in a release on Thursday, said the unions that have signed collectively represent approximately 60,000 employees.

Dr. Nigel Clarke, Minister of Finance and the Public Service said so far, it has been a momentous development, given the four years of work that have gone 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.

“We engaged consultants and shared the results with our union partners.

 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,” said Clarke.

He added that “This is a watershed moment as the Government seeks to transform the public sector into a modern public service.”

He reiterated that the current compensation system does not serve the needs of the public sector or the country as a whole.

“I commend the unions for the level of commitment they demonstrated throughout the process. 

I want to encourage those that are still reviewing the Government’s proposal to complete that review in short order. Time is of the essence,” said Clarke.

He said further that it is the Government’s commitment to implement a public sector compensation that is fair, transparent, and sustainable while emphasizing that every public sector worker will be better off financially when the new system is implemented.

The new compensation system is to be implemented over three years with an effective date of 1 April 2022 and is to cost approximately $120 billion over the period.

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