The Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ) says although it wanted more, it hopes the wage agreement signed with Government will help reduce the rate of migration of nurses from Jamaica.
President of the NAJ Carmen Johnson made the comments after signing a four year wage agreement with the Government Wednesday, September 12. The agreement is for 16 percent wage increase over four years, with some other increases and additional benefits to the nursing body.
The NAJ President said that, after a year of negotiations, to be able to come to an agreement may be a key role in keeping more nurses from leaving the island.
“It would provide some impetus to keep the nurses to stay a little longer within the country,” she said.
“So today, our hope is going forward, though we are signing a four-year wage agreement that in and of itself poses challenges for us, but then we understand the economic plans for the country and how we need to participate,” Johnson added.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Nigel Clarke who signed on
behalf of Government lauded the professionalism of the NAJ, who he says displayed the utmost respect during their wage talks.
“These discussions have been conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect, openness, transparency and we’re indeed grateful to the Nurses Association of Jamaica for the manner in which our discussion have been held,” he noted.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Sancia Bennett-Templer also lauded the critical role of nurses.
“As the largest human resource in the health sector, definitely the technical services area, we very much recognise the work that you do and your importance to the health care system. I’m advised that you provide as much as 90% of the care that patients received,” Bennett-Templer asserted.
“We recognise that when you advocate as the Nurses Association for nurses, you’re really also advocating for the people of Jamaica,” the Permanent Secretary added.
The now-concluded rounds of wage negotiations between the Government and the NAJ began on September 13, 2017.