There’s a call this afternoon for the government to enshrine into law a system where workers in the construction sector would effectively receive an industry standard minimum wage.

The call came from the Joint Industrial Council for the Building and Construction Industry. The body is made up of the Incorporated Masterbuilders’ Association of Jamaica, IMAJ, and a number of trade unions, including the National Workers Union, NWU and the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union, BITU. The Trades Union Congress, TUC, is also a part of the body.

There’s also a call from the Joint Industrial Council for the gazetting of the terms signed off on in the Labour Management Agreement. The Council says this is to protect local workers employed to international companies who’re not bound by the agreement.

The Labour Market Agreement for the 2019 to 2021 contract period will see construction workers receiving a six per cent increase in wages and benefits in the first year. They are also set to receive a 5 per cent increase in the second year. For example, a common labourer should be paid $403 per hour for a 40 hour work week, at a minimum. A carpenter should be paid $429 at minimum per hour, and a mason should be paid $476 dollars at minimum per hour.

Island Supervisor for the NWU, Khurt Fletcher, is calling on the government to treat these new standards as an effective minimum wage for the construction industry.

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Mr. Fletcher says the unions are also calling on the government to enshrine the Labour Market Agreement into law.

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