The Minister of Finance, Dr. Nigel Clarke says negotiations are underway, to meet the demands of the NWC workers who went on strike for 2 days. However, he acknowledges that the government has been struggling, because of the shortage of resources. Dr. Nigel Clarke met with the leadership of the Jamaica Civil Service Association earlier on Friday to discuss concerns that were expressed to the ministry. The meeting was related to the two day strike by National Water Commission workers, who protested for a reclassification of their services.
The JCSA leadership felt strongly that the negotiated benefits that are proposed to be discontinued should have been presented directly to them, instead of through the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU). The Minister is adamant that no ill intent was behind the motion, however that it is within the government’s rights to put forward proposals for more efficient use of resources. It was also expected that the restive workers would have been granted the opportunity to have civil discourse before the situation escalated.
The JCSA explained that their understanding of the proposition for the discontinuation of the benefits was that it was final, and non-negotiable. Minister Clarke says that this is not the case, and that the ministry of finance and the public service is open to continue negotiations. However, he stresses that the cost of delivering some of these benefits on a per capita basis, is unreasonable, because of the chronic shortage of resources in the country.
Both parties agree that the JCSA’s claim should be settled before the full implementation of the compensation review.