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Higher wages mean more taxes, Shaw tells teachers

Sunday, March 11, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Finance Minister Audley Shaw is this afternoon reiterating that the Government cannot improve its current wage offer to public sector workers without raising taxes.

Amid reports of possible industrial action by teachers in the coming week, Shaw in a statement today, said "Given the calculations, the only possible approach to satisfying the demands of the unions, in terms of an improved offer, would be an increase in taxes on all Jamaicans to pay for this improvement".

The finance minister said that the Government of Jamaica recognises and appreciates the sacrifices of all public sector workers and it "agrees that public servants, including teachers, deserve more".

However, Shaw said that the current wage offer is the best the Government could do, and said that it craved the understanding of public sector workers.

Opening the 2018/19 budget debate on Thursday, Shaw explained that the four-year arrangement that has been agreed on with several of the unions, so far, will provide public-sector workers with an increase of five per cent in year one, two per cent in year two, four per cent in year three, and five per cent in year four.

Shaw said the offer, when added to the annual performance-based increments of 2.5 per cent, represents a combined increase of 26 per cent over four years, compared with the previous four years of wage freezes and a cumulative 17 per cent increase over that prior four-year period, which also had a higher rate of inflation.

The finance minister said today that the Government pledges to continue negotiations to settle on a wage deal for the period under consideration.




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