Speaking at the signing, the Prime Minister said her "Administration takes seriously our responsibility for the prudent management of the affairs of our country, while ensuring that the best interest of our employees are always protected and secured."
She referred to "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" and said she was grateful "to ALL our public sector workers for their patience, their sacrifices and their loyalty to Jamaica."
"The country will recall that in January 2015 the Ministry of Finance and Planning received a joint claim from the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions on behalf of certain Public Sector Workers.
It was determined by the Confederation and supported by the Government that Public Sector Workers could not be asked to continue under the wage freeze.
"This is despite the fact that our country has not yet achieved the target of a wage to GDP ratio of nine per cent (9%), which we have set under Jamaica’s Economic Reform Programme," she said.
The Prime Minister outlined some of the critical components of the Agreements and Economic and Social Benefits:
- The agreement is for two (2) years commencing April 2015 to March 2017.
- Twelve items from the previous contract period are still being pursued.
- An increase in Salary is projected for Four Percent (4%) in year 1 and Three Percent (3%) in year 2.
- There will be Increases in the following allowances:
- Shift and Night Premium
- Special Duty
- Death Benefit; and
- Funeral Grant
- There is also agreement for a compensation review which will establish relations between and among groups in the public and private sectors.
- There will be a fund totalling Forty Five Million Dollars ($45M) for Tertiary Education grants to children of Public Sector Workers over the two years of the contract.
- There is also agreement for the maintenance of benefits across the Public Sector. These benefits include:
- Tertiary Education Loans
- Refund of Tuition
- Grants to Children of Public Sector Workers
- Government Transportation and
- Skills Training
- There is also agreement for the development of at least one land our housing project for this financial year.
The Prime Minister commended the Trade Unions and Associations for their patience and their understanding of the Government’s Economic Programme at this time, and thanked the Minister Without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance, Horce Dalley and his Technical Staff for their dedication, commitment and perseverance.
"Most of all, once again, I thank our Public Sector workers, who continue to make great sacrifices in support of the economic programme for strengthening the Jamaican economy and society. Thank you for working in the interest of the long-term advancement and development of Jamaica, land we love," she declared.
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