Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the government had expected a "turbulent period" to result from the public sector compensation review.
Mr. Holness on Thursday tried to appease workers, repeating the promise that the government will not use the reclassification exercise to "make any one group worse off relative to each other and absolutely relative to what they were before".
Instead, he argued that the adjustment is necessary and is aimed at ensuring that labour, particularly in the public sector, "gets their fair share of the prosperity that the country is and will be experiencing in the future".
Mr. Holness pointed to the turbulent industrial relations climate during the 2008 global recession when the country was "teetering on the edge of bankruptcy" and had to undertake structural reforms and entrench fiscal discipline. All this, he said, was done with the support of unions who partnered in that decision.
Mr. Holness said he is now hoping the mechanisms put in place to handle disputes in recent times will not be abandoned in the current negotiations. He also promised the government would conduct the negotiations in good faith.
The Prime Minister was speaking at Thursday's installation of Ian Forbes as Custos of St. Andrew.
His comments come following a two-day strike by workers of the National Water Commission which ended on Wednesday, and a 72-hour strike notice issued by public sector workers on Thursday.