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Clarke Appeals For Patience In Wake Of Public Sector Protest

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Clarke Appeals For Patience In Wake Of Public Sector Protest

  Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke appealed to public sector employees in a national broadcast Sunday night, to be patient and trust the government in the public sector compensation review process.   This followed a turbulent week of industrial unrest, as various groups of workers vented their frustration with the government’s actions so far in the process.    Dr Clarke, in his national broadcast, said industrial action could reverse Jamaica‘s economic recovery and make it difficult to pay wages.   He claimed that some of the workers’ apprehension was being driven by misinformation.   He also addressed calculations by persons attempting to refute the government’s claim that no one will be worse off  when some of  the allowances are absorbed into salaries.   Conceding that there could be isolated instances in an employee initially ends up at a disadvantage, he pledged that such cases will be addressed with alacrity and the discrepancy corrected.   Dr. Clarke disclosed that the finance ministry has already met with 45 of  the 47 central government bargaining units and another round of  discussions is set to begin soon.   He said the feedback from the first set of  discussions will lead to reviews going into the second round.   The Minister said, while the process of  reform has been a long one, Jamaica cannot afford for it to collapse.   PUBLIC BODIES   Dr Clarke also appealed for patience from employees of public bodies his ministry concludes negotiations with groups within central government.   He promised to engage with unions representing workers in public bodies within six months.