MALONEY CLAIMS PUBLIC SERVANTS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT LOSING THEIR EMPLOYMENT.
By Anesta Henry
Democratic Labour Party (DLP) spokesperson for labour Walter Maloney says while public sector workers are looking forward to the six per cent salary increase agreed to by the Government, many of them are worried about losing their jobs in the near future.
He said several public servants were concerned whether they would still have their jobs after April 1, the beginning of the new financial year given certain developments.
“The welfare agencies are supposed to be amalgamated and there is a fear that there is going to be some level of displacement in there because, clearly, once you put all the agencies together, the staff complement you will not need so some persons will lose their jobs.
“They realise that the transfers to SOEs [State Owned Enterprises] have either diminished or have been cut; that says to us that there will be some level of displacement in those agencies as well.
“So they are thankful for the increase, but the real fear and trepidation to persons working in the public service is whether or not they will have a job,” Maloney said during a press conference at the DLP George Street, Belleville, St Michael headquarters on Thursday.
He added that the process of the wage negotiations was the ideal opportunity for the unions to also negotiate conditions of service.
As far as Maloney is concerned, the unions should not have signed off on the agreement unless given a guarantee that those persons working in the public service for over ten years are appointed.
“That should have been one of the priorities. We cannot wait until after a budget to hear the Government say ‘we have to lay off all of these people’ and then the unions are playing catch up as to how we can try to stop people from losing their jobs,” said the former president of the National Union of Public Workers.
“It should have been placed on the table . . . because at the end of the day, and I will keep saying it, one person losing their job in this country is one too many.
“So the issue here is much larger than just having a salary increase; there is more to it than that. It is how we go about to make certain we safeguard jobs,” Maloney added.
Unions and the Government on Tuesday reached agreement for public sector workers to receive a one-off payment of $1 500, a six per cent salary increase over the next two years and a 16 per cent hike in allowances up to 2025.
They also agreed on the creation of 22 master teacher posts and 10 specialist nurse posts; the establishment of a Grievance Monitoring Committee to meet monthly to track and resolve public officers’ grievances; a public service-wide regrading and job evaluation exercise to begin this year; and the inclusion of additional posts in the public officers’ loan and travel allowances framework.