MP Montague wants 20% salary increase for contract workers 

Member of Parliament for St Mary Western, the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Robert Montague, is pleading with the Minister of Finance and Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, to grant a 20 per cent salary increase to the nearly 350 contract workers in his constituency.

Montague told Clarke that granting such an increase would ensure the JLP wins the five parish council divisions in his constituency in the next local government election that is due on or before February 28 next year.

Montague, who is also chairman of the JLP, was speaking Tuesday during his contribution to the 2023/24 State of the Constituency Debate in the House of Representatives. He told Clarke that “my canvass shows that 347 contract workers are in my constituency and I am not ashamed to tell you, I am going to need every single one of them and their families when the Local Government Election is called”.

Continuing, Montague said: “I am going to need them and more Minister if I am to retain the five parish council divisions and I intend to Minister, so Minister, please give the government contract workers the much-desired increase. They need it and my councillors and I need it for them”.

While beseeching the finance minister, Montague suggested that he “amend the contracts and give the people an increase”.

He even told Clarke to “carry a supplementary budget and do it, you have done it before. Remember, it is their votes that got us here and the people are the most important asset of any government. The contract workers and the people are watching you my Minister”.

Montague told Clarke not to be irresponsible, “protect the economic gains, so a 20 per cent increase from April 1 is a fair deal”.

Montague had earlier in his speech stated that Minister Clarke “has been very kind and gracious to me and the constituency of late and we hope he will be just as gracious in this next matter. The contract workers from Western St Mary have asked me to help them to get an increase, to benefit under the compensation review policy”.

“They have asked that you revisit the issue of not giving them an increase, because they are on contract, and that they must wait until the end of their contract. Yet the people in big positions, CEOs, executive directors, managing directors, commissioners; every single senior position in government, in state agencies and public bodies got their increase and they are all on contract,” said Montague.

He argued that “My little people, those that work at the parish council, RADA, NWA, NSWMA, police stations, schools, cannot get a raise”.

Yet, “the executive assistant to ministers, the consultants, the constituency secretaries, are telling me that they can’t get an increase because they are on contract but the head of every government agency who, are also on contract, got an increase?” Montague said.

“This is manifestly unfair minister,” said the JLP chairman.