Strikes in season

On strike sign
On strike sign (Photo credit: Martin Lopez)

Several strikes have been called in the past week strikes in Jamaica due to wage increase discrepancies. Organizations are not pleased as the cost-of-living increases while wages remain the same. It started as early as Tuesday morning when Jamaicans woke up to having no water in their pipes as National Water Commission (NWC) workers went on strike. “The government owe we, we want a raise a pay”, a frustrated NWC worker told the Jamaica Monitor.

The NWC worker went on to say they had received orders from their superiors to lock off all water supply. When ask when the water would be restored, he said, “me just a follow order Miss, we nuh know when”. But by Wednesday evening, water was restored in most parts of Jamaica. This industrial action by 2000 NWC workers came at a time when the government was reviewing the National Public Sector wages. NWC was indicating to the government that workers needed a raise of pay. Minister of Finance and Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke said they were in discussions with the trade unions and bargaining groups. 

These water lock-offs were unannounced and unexpected by Jamaicans but a resident from Palmers Cross said they have been experiencing water lock-offs during the nights. She says the NWC workers deserve more money but their actions have resulted in a lot of uproar and inconvenience.

That strike ended only for another to begin on Thursday as Air Traffic Controllers walked off the job at the Sangster’s International Airport in Montego Bay and the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston causing all flights to be cancelled. These workers were not pleased with the salary negotiations that have been going on three months. Hence, they went on strike to let their voices be heard.

Without air traffic controllers which is a plane’s eyes and ears, a pilot does not know when to land their plane or if another plane is on the runway. Flights that were en-route had to return to where they were coming from, and other flights could not land. Desanna McIntosh, a university student, said she had to redo her COVID-19 Test and do her exam online at the airport the following day when the workers went back to work.

Public Sector workers gave notice on Thursday that they are going to strike this Monday. The continuous strike actions will take a toll on the country’s economy. “I urge reason”, pleads Holness.


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