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Public-sector workers wait on Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:23 am



Public-sector workers, worried about their jobs in light of the planned modernisation process, will have to wait until late this year to find out if they will be sent home.

It could be another two to three months before the country even knows how many of the 113,000 public-sector workers will lose their jobs, despite a proposal already on the table to scale down or close almost 60 government entities.

The Patricia Sinclair McCalla-led Public Sector Transformation Unit (PSTU) - in a Green Paper tabled in Parliament last week - recommended that seven state entities be abolished, 16 privatised, approximately 50 merged and the services of 10 be contracted out.

This could result in hundreds of workers being sent home, with the National Workers Union projecting that if Parliament accepts the proposals, anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 jobs could be lost.

Too early

But yesterday, Sinclair McCalla told a post-Cabinet media briefing that it was much too early to put a figure on the job cuts.

She said the PSTU is now making some assumptions based on the Green Paper, while looking at more than just how many persons will be cashiered.

"I think we need to shift our thinking from just the number of jobs to be lost. What we need to focus on is how do we increase productivity, and while everybody is concerned about how many will transition out of the public sector we are working ... to develop a mechanism on how to increase productivity," Sinclair McCalla told journalists.

"I can't tell you how many will leave the public sector in this process because we don't have those figures in house as yet," she added.

Unsure about savings

The PSTU head was also adamant that there is no estimate yet on how much money the Government will save if the proposed changes are implemented. She was not willing to speculate.

"As you crunch the numbers, some of what I just discussed will give you the idea about cost saving. (But right now) we don't know. We honestly do not know," declared Sinclair McCalla.

"We are hoping that by October we would have, based on certain assumptions, some sort of indications, cost savings, numbers, etc."

As she has done in the past, Sinclair McCalla admitted that there would be some job losses and told journalists that a change management team is addressing this issue.

Published: Thursday | July 29, 2010 [The Gleaner]

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