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Kingston Gleaner Newspaper Archives Jun 3 2015, Page 1

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Kingston Gleaner (Newspaper) - June 3, 2015, Kingston, Kingston Unemployment looms for 15,000 public sector workers if Gov’t bows to wage demands Gary Spaulding Senior Gleaner Writer T HE GOVERNMENT calculates that up to 15,000 public- sector employees could lose their jobs if it yields to the demands of the police and other public- sector workers for what it describes as unrealistically hefty wage hikes. Horace Dalley, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and Planning with responsibility for the public service, warned yesterday that it was inevitable that instead of tripling the wage bill, “ the bulk of displaced workers would be drawn from the lower- income levels of $ 1 million or less annually”. The warning comes as police and teachers adopted a militant stance yesterday as they protested against a five per cent salary hike being offered by the Government over a twoyear period. The lawmen and women are demanding billions of dollars in new allowances, atop the raft of old ones, which threatens to send the wage bill for all publicsector workers toppling. That bill has climbed from $ 147 billion to $ 165 billion over the five- year period of the wage freeze. Dalley and Deputy Financial Secretary Wayne Jones made the disclosures in an interview by The Gleaner yesterday. They were supported by Finance and Planning Minister Dr Peter Phillips. He warned that to break the Government’s reform progamme would be counterproductive, even to the very interest of the workers. “ We have the choice of completing the programmes of reforms and rebalancing our public finances or breaking that programme and allowing the adjustments to take place over a much longer period.” Added Phillips: “ We can either continue the efforts that have been made, with the sacrifices of the workers and the general population, including the taxpayers and bond holders, and reach the end results, or we can abandon www. jamaica- gleaner. com VOLUME 181 NO. 132 WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3, 2015 KINGSTON, JAMAICA 72 PAGES INCLUDING GCT $ 60 Job losses ahead Daraine Luton Senior Staff Reporter STATING THAT the country’s economic recovery and security could be put at grave risk if the Government misses established wage targets, Jamaica’s national security minister yesterday appealed to the Police Federation to return to the bargaining table and to break its industrial action. “ We acknowledge that the Government wants to offer better pay to the police and, indeed, to all civil servants; however, the point must be made that any offer must be governed by the inherent ability of the Government to pay and the constraints pertaining to the targets of the overall Economic Reform Programme. In the long run, adherence to these targets will result in improved economic performance and a more robust economy for all,” Bunting said. Jamaica, under its Extended Fund Facility programme with the International Monetary Fund, has agreed to lower the public- sector wage bill as percentage of GDP to nine per cent by next year. The public- sector wage bill is $ 165 billion, and Bunting has said that the police wage bill alone stands at $ 24 billion and that the claim being made by the federation in the current negotiations is in excess of $ 30 billion. In a statement to the House of Representatives, Bunting said that the rank- and- file members of the force had been effectively offered a 12 per cent increase in salaries over two years and stressed that the Government was not in a position to make a better offer. The police, many of whom reported sick and did not report for work yesterday, have asked for a wage increase of 100 per cent. “ We consider it unfortunate that the Police Federation chose to pursue this course of action, which is not appropriate for an essential service. It exposes the public to unnecessary risk and may cause significant harm to the professional image of the JCF, which has been improving in recent years,” the minister said. He told the House that the protest action had affected most Resident Magistrate’s courts across the island, in addition to the Supreme Court in Kingston, as well as the Family Court and Traffic Court. He said that the army had been called out and additional members would be deployed if the need arose. Horace Dalley, minister without portfolio, Ministry of Finance and Planning, who is leading the negotiations for the Government, has written to the federation, inviting them to attend a meeting scheduled at the ministry on Friday. Bunting ask cops to hold strain, return to bargaining table JERMAINE BARNABY/ PHOTOGRAPHER Michael Scott ( left), superintendent of police in charge of the Kingston Central Police Division, is seen with his team at the Central Police Station yesterday. Rank- and- file members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force reported sick yesterday. FIX IT, PLEASE This utility pole with a rotting base stands dangerously in Amity district, Bath Mountain, Westmoreland. What’s broken in your area that the authorities should know? Tell us at The Gleaner ’s myReport page, www. jamaicagleaner. com/ myReport . ... See it, snap it, share it! A2: FIFA boss walks DALLEY PLEASE SEE LOSSES , A3

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