Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Government wage offer an insult to workers

Published:Monday | March 12, 2018 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Based on the wage talks, public-sector workers should now dismantle their unions for their blatant act of betrayal. Who needs a medium to negotiate for us when the Government has the power to reject our concerns and present a take-it-or-leave-it salary package?

How could the unions vouch that public-sector workers be bonded to an agreement with a maximum cumulative increase of $15,000-$20,000 (or $2,000-$5,000 on monthly income) over the next four years? What can the head of a household, especially, acquire with that figure for the month?

This wage offer is a grave insult and it indicates how underrated public-sector workers are in this country. If Jamaica should strike gold or oil tomorrow and the economy suddenly booms, public-sector workers would not benefit for the next four years legally, thanks to the trade unions. One might insist that half a loaf is better than none, but a wage freeze would be more dignified than the pittance we have been offered.

Audley Shaw bleated with much pride about the wage increase being over 30 per cent, considering the raising of the threshold, but income tax rollback is not an incentive. It is part of the gross salary package - workers earned it. It would be more honourable for the Government to impose the income tax and pay workers modestly.

It is ridiculous, too, that the Government continuously makes offers that public-sector workers have rejected in the past. The morale of workers is being reduced and we would be better off fighting our battles independently in a strategic way.

J. ANN JACKSON

Old Harbour, St Catherine