The government says it is unable to increase the wage offer, made to public sector workers.
Speaking at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) third review press conference this morning (Mar 9) Finance Minister Audley Shaw stated that the 16 % increase over 4 years, is the best the government can do, at this time.
The government and public sector groups have been locked in wage talks.
The Jamaica Teachers Association, Police Federation, and Nurses Association of Jamaica are yet to sign-off on the proposed wage offer, while the Jamaica Medical Doctors Association, and Medical Association of Jamaica as well as several groups under the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions, have signed off on the agreement.
Mr. Shaw says that it is a practice for the Jamaica Labour Party government to offer public sector workers high wage increases, and he believes that the 16% is a good offer.
Mr. Shaw also sought to explain why this wage offer will put public sector workers in a better position.
Yesterday, in the opening of the 2018/2019 Budget Debate, he stated that with the proposed wage offer, public sector workers will see a cumulative increase in pay of close to 30 % over four years.
Meantime, the Finance Minister has affirmed that the government will be paying out the 5 percent retroactive monies at the end of this month.
The current financial year ends on March 31.
Audley Shaw has said, the five percent wage increase in year one of the four year contract, will be paid in the March salaries.
However, members of the Nurses Association of Jamaica and the Jamaica Teachers Association have objected to this, as they have not signed an agreement with the government.
Earlier this week, NAJ President Carmen Johnson stated that her membership will not be accepting the offer.
While, the JTA stated that if the Finance Ministry goes ahead with the payment the association will see it as tantamount to union busting and a breach of collective bargaining rights.
Despite the concerns, Mr. Shaw says the monies have to be paid out come March 31.
The government is proposing a four year wage contract with increases of 5% in year 1, 2% in year 2, 4% in year 3, and 5% in year 4.