The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) is pleading for a sense of calm to facilitate productive dialogue among members of the public sector as the Government of Jamaica continues to work through the Reclassification exercise regarding public sector wages.
Over the past decade, Jamaica has made significant strides in getting its fiscal house in order. Our public sector employees have sacrificed through wage freezes and marginal adjustments in salaries as their contribution to achieving macro-fiscal stability. The GOJ is finally in a strong enough fiscal position to budget for significant increases in compensation for the next three years while doing a rationalization of the unwieldy compensation structure which has evolved over many years. So, while we fully appreciate that our public servants would be anxious about this exercise as it affects their bread and butter, we however should not derail this process and we are imploring all stakeholders, workers, GOJ, Opposition and unions to exercise calm, patience and restraint.
This Public Sector compensation reclassification exercise was always going to be a very complex and involved exercise which would have required patience and forbearance. We take note of the strike (industrial) action taken during the course of this week by employees from the National Water Commission, Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority and National Housing Trust expressing their dissatisfaction and levels of unease with the Reclassification exercise being undertaken. And we are hearing of more to ensue. The Reclassification exercise is important but ought to be done in the spirit of partnership, trust and transparency. We are therefore calling for a bit more patience from the public sector and their union representatives, and more transparency from the GOJ, so that all parties are clear as to the roadmap to finalize this undertaking and where they fall in the process.
This industrial action has and can continue to be very disruptive to the economy by reducing economic activity, reducing the country’s tax revenue intake and the ability of the GOJ to make good on its budgeted expenditures inclusive of public sector wages and salaries. This is a cost too great to bear and it is with this in mind, we appeal to all parties to handle this matter with the least fallout for our country.
We will continue to observe the situations however we are encouraging the parties to be reasonable and stay resolute on the bigger mission of rebuilding and recovering after having to deal with the impacts of the covid-19 pandemic and even the implications of the external shocks and geopolitical tensions.