Gov’t to start cut­ting jobs in Au­gust 2017

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Jo­van John­son Staff Reporter jo­van.john­son@glean­erjm.com

PEO­PLE EM­PLOYED in hu­man re­sources will be the first group of pub­lic sec­tor em­ploy­ees whose jobs will be on the chop­ping block when the An­drew Hol­ness administration im­ple­ments as­pects of the pub­lic sec­tor trans­for­ma­tion agenda.

This first stage of job cuts is sched­uled to start in Au­gust 2017, ac­cord­ing to the Gov­ern­ment’s Mem­o­ran­dum of Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Poli­cies (MEFP), which the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) pub­lished on Tues­day.

The coun­try has been pre­par­ing for the ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion process since 2011, with the com­ple­tion of the mas­ter ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion plan. The re­forms later be­came a con­di­tion un­der the IMF deal signed in 2013 and re­main un­der a three-year suc­ces­sor agree­ment ap­proved last week.

PEO­PLE EM­PLOYED in hu­man re­sources will be the first group of pub­lic sec­tor em­ploy­ees whose jobs will be on the chop­ping block when the An­drew Hol­ness administration im­ple­ments as­pects of the pub­lic sec­tor trans­for­ma­tion agenda.

This first stage of job cuts is sched­uled to start in Au­gust 2017, ac­cord­ing to the Gov­ern­ment’s Mem­o­ran­dum of Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Poli­cies (MEFP), which the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) pub­lished on Tues­day.

The coun­try has been pre­par­ing for the ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion process since 2011, with the com­ple­tion of the mas­ter ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion plan. The re­forms later be­came a con­di­tion un­der the IMF deal signed in 2013 and re­main un­der a three-year suc­ces­sor agree­ment ap­proved last week.

SHARED SER­VICES

As part of the re­forms, Ja­maica is to in­tro­duce shared cor­po­rate ser­vices for com­mu­ni­ca­tions, hu­man-re­source man­age­ment, and as­set man­age­ment. Le­gal ser­vices across Gov­ern­ment are also to be cen­tralised.

Ac­cord­ing to the MEFP, by May 30 next year, the Gov­ern­ment must iden­tify the po­si­tions that will be af­fected due to the re­or­gan­i­sa­tion of hu­man-re­source man­age­ment. By that date, too, a cost­ing and sched­ule should have been worked out to fa­cil­i­tate the changes.

Although not a con­di­tion of the deal, the Gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted to start im­ple­ment­ing the changes three months later, in Au­gust.

In about 12 months’ time, by Novem­ber next year, the Gov­ern­ment is to iden­tify the po­si­tions that will be af­fected by the im­ple­men­ta­tion of shared cor­po­rate ser­vices in pub­lic re­la­tions, com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and in­ter­nal au­dits. This is an­other struc­tural bench­mark.

No time­line was given for when those changes are to be im­ple­mented.

Ap­prox­i­mately 100,000 peo­ple are em­ployed in the pub­lic sec­tor.

The pre­cise num­ber of po­si­tions to be af­fected in Gov­ern­ment is to be determined by an ac­tion plan for pub­lic-sec­tor trans­for­ma­tion, which was sub­mit­ted to the Cabi­net in Septem­ber.

The plan con­tains de­tails on the merger, clo­sure, di­vest­ment, and out­sourc­ing of gov­ern­ment func­tions, as well as the re­duc­tion in the num­ber of pub­lic bod­ies.

Last month, trade union­ist Lam­bert Brown ar­gued in the Se­nate that the Gov­ern­ment had a duty to share the doc­u­ment with trade unions.

The Ja­maica Con­fed­er­a­tion of Trade Unions (JCTU) said the dis­clo­sure of the time­lines did not raise any red flags be­cause it had al­ready signed off on the 2011 mas­ter ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion plan.

“The real prob­lem was that the out­go­ing administration (Peo­ple’s Na­tional Party) never moved to im­ple­ment, and that is why we are where we are,” JCTU pres­i­dent He­lene Dav­isWhyte said.

LOW-HANG­ING FRUIT

An­a­lysts had ar­gued that the ur­gency of im­ple­ment­ing pub­lic sec­tor re­form played a role in Por­tia Simp­son Miller calling the Fe­bru­ary gen­eral elec­tion almost one year ear­lier than was con­sti­tu­tion­ally due.

Davis-Whyte added: “The ques­tion of the shared cor­po­rate ser­vices was what was deemed to be a low-hang­ing fruit. When you looked at it, you had very small en­ti­ties that prob­a­bly had 10 or 20 mem­bers of staff and yet still you had an HR de­part­ment. The view was, in those in­stances, you could gain more and would be more cost ef­fec­tive and af­fect those ser­vices shared across those de­part­ments.”

Ac­cord­ing to Davis-Whyte, trans­for­ma­tion for unions is about en­sur­ing that the pub­lic sec­tor can op­er­ate more ef­fi­ciently and ef­fec­tively. “If you just go in and it’s just about cut­ting jobs in or­der to be able to meet some pre­de­ter­mined tar­get, we have a prob­lem.”

The Gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted to re­duc­ing the pub­lic sec­tor wage bill to nine per cent of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct by fi­nan­cial year 2018-2019. Two pre­vi­ous dead­lines were missed.

The IMF has said that Ja­maica’s wage bill, cur­rently at 10 per cent of GDP, is high and “has been a chronic prob­lem for many years that cre­ates budgetary rigidi­ties and lim­its the re­sources avail­able for needed growth-en­hanc­ing cap­i­tal spend­ing”.

Ap­prox­i­mately $170 bil­lion is bud­geted for wages and salaries this fis­cal year.

DAVIS-WHYTE

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Jamaica

© PressReader. All rights reserved.