The People's National Party(PNP) government and its economic oversight reps of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) have made it quite clear that they are passing on the hand dealt to them by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the public sector workers who largely constitute the Jamaican middle-class in form of a 5% wage offer. Although, in the weeks immediately following the 5% disclosure the administration was insisting that it was just a starting offer and that negotiations would bear good fruits.
|People's National Party|
It would not be long after that the government, now under more pressure by the defiant unions and workers began to colour its own workers as inconsiderate; saying that they were selfishly ignoring the administration's tight fiscal space as dictated by the IMF and that there defiance could possibly derail the economic reform programme - although the public workers had agreed to wage freeze for 6 years despite increase in cost of living to give the government sufficient time and maneuverability to stimulate growth.
Let Actions Speak
It was encouraging to see the leader of the Jamaica Teachers Association motivating his charges to email Public Service Minister, Horace Dalley, sending him countdown reminders for the government to respond to the teacher's offer, even drawing irritated response from the minister. Hopefully union leaders and other activist will see the value in utilizing new media and social network to not just mobilize the troops but engage the wider Jamaican populace in their cause especially to build awareness and gain support.
As the weeks pass; the public sector workers and their families are anxious for deal of mutual interest to reached - the unions have threatened inevitable industrial actions with only their sense of duty to nation sustaining them. But we challenge the unions, workers and Jamaicans not to be caught in individual battles that only serve a single interest, its time we awaken to possibilities of sustained change that only arise from us presenting a united front in the face of our new reality.
|Public Sector Shutdown|
Public Sector shutdown and walkouts aren't unheard of and here in Jamaica it follows the traditions of the early union movements that led up to our independence; such an action will have large support and could be a catalyst for the type of awakening that will get turn our general apathy into ACTION!.
Don't Downplay, Encourage and Participate
It is a reoccurring theme among Jamaicans to downplay the cause, advocacy and motives of those among us with the intention of disrupting the status quot.
It indicates a level of fear that has been driven into the people through a political culture of "don" and "area leader", but also the injustice brought about by the cronyism that amass power for the selected few and the only way to make some head way is by supporting them or "dawg nyam yuh suppah". Many are quick to place political labels hence making it easier for them to dismiss and avoid participation.
We must decide to reject the "we can't do anything" and "is dem run things" mentality that has kept governance from truly progressing. Realizing that we have the power and should be constitutionally be given more power to hold those in elected and other public offices accountable.
Despite this, we must seek to encourage, motivate and participate in the activities be them discussion or civil actions that will create CHANGE, so that everybody has a chance for reach strive for the top.