Kurt Solomon, President of JATCA
The Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association (JATCA) is examining its legal options following Thursday's order by the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) that it refrain from taking industrial action.
JATCA President Kurt Solomon says he disagrees with the procedure being adopted to deal with the wage dispute.
Thursday's order was the latest round in the situation which escalated after the association served a wage claim on the Finance Ministry in May 2021.
The order issued by the IDT acknowledges an industrial dispute between JATCA and the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA).
However, Mr. Solomon is asserting that the association's claim was made on the Finance Ministry and not the JCAA. This distinction is causing a challenge.
"We have indicated our disagreement with the terms of reference, and the process requires us now to go back to the Ministry of Labour to treat with the terms of reference. But the Ministry of Labour, in particular, has stated that they cannot help us if we are saying we have an issue with the Ministry of Finance. They can only help us if we have an issue with our employer. That's a sticking point," he told Radio Jamaica News.
JATCA has its first tribunal sitting on May 30.
"We're exploring the relationship with the Ministry of Transport and Mining, whom [sic] has promised that they will dialogue with the Ministry of Finance on behalf of the authority, the JCAA," said Mr. Solomon.
At the same time, he said JATCA will have to broaden its approach to dealing with the wage issues. This broadening, he noted, will have to examine "other legal channels that may be available... especially in light of what is happening with public sector compensation review and us not being a part of that review".
With almost a year gone since the association served its wage claim on the Finance Ministry, and negotiations yet to take place, Mr. Solomon argued that this was "creating no end of problems" at JATCA.