We want more say, grumble worker representatives

fabian lewis
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Indications from last week’s initial meeting of the newly created Public Sector Transformation Oversight Committee (PSTOC) is that increased input into the process from public sector workers will be a major priority.

“Effort will be made to ensure that public sector employees have a sense of ownership of the transformation process,” the committee said.

PSTOC co-chairman, trade unionist Danny Roberts, said that there would be a high level of engagement with the public sector workers to get their suggestions and feedback on helping the exercise achieve its objectives.

Roberts told the Jamaica Observer that this position was given full support by the members of the committee representing the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), the Jamaica Employers Federation (JEF), the Government and academia.

“It is not something new, but something that we realise will need greater attention and greater focus going forward,” Roberts told the Observer.

He said that the increased focus was primarily due to the fact that the process has been continuing for at least two decades, and has now reached the stage where it needs to play a pivotal role in the success of the new stand-by agreement between the Government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He said that having entrenched the macro-economic framework under the facility, the Government and the IMF are now convinced that public sector transformation has to be the next focus in order to achieve the levels of economic growth, investments and job creation necessary for its success.

“… So we need to deepen the change management process, which means greater involvement and participation of the workers,” Roberts said.

Roberts added that one of the myths that has to be dispelled about the process is that it is primarily about massive job losses, instead of the realisation that it has to proceed within the context of the economic growth strategy, which makes the PSTOC a partner with the Economic Programme Oversight Committee in terms of achieving growth.

“We are on a parallel course which means that we meet at the pinnacle,” Robert said.

He explained that while there would be job losses from the transformation process, the divestment of public bodies would also mean a transfer of jobs to the private sector for which public sector workers would be qualified.

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