Aviation Inspectors at the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority are off the job.
The majority of the Inspectors, who are said to be on a two day sick out, say they’ll not return to work until next Monday.
The Jamaica Aviation Inspectors Association is the union representing the protesting workers.
It says the workers are restive because of a protracted wage negotiation for the 2015 to 2017 contract period.
President of the Association, Gary Carr, says the inspectors have not received a salary increase since 2009. He says while most of the other 17 benefit claims submitted have been met — the request relating to salary has not been addressed.
Mr. Carr is describing this as the ‘bone of contention.’ He says the salary negotiation, which started in April 2015, has gone on for too long. He says his Association wrote to the Ministry of Labour outlining their concerns about the progress of the negotiations.
According to Mr. Carr, the Ministry responded on Tuesday morning and advised it had spoken with the Civil Aviation Authority encouraging them to resolve the situation at the local level.
Mr. Carr says on Tuesday evening, he got an email from the Authority.
However, he says the e-mail was not satisfactory and didn’t adequately address the issue of salary. He says another call was made yesterday to the Ministry but there’s been no feedback; hence the decision for the workers to take industrial action.
Mr. Carr says he doesn’t believe the matter of the salary increase for the Aviation Inspectors is being taken seriously. He says little progress over 13-months is unacceptable.
Aviation Inspectors provide safety and security oversight for the aviation industry through routine monitoring and surveillance activities, in keeping with Jamaica’s international obligations.
Meanwhile, Mr. Carr says the process to restore the air traffic equipment that was damaged by lightning won’t be affected by the absence of the inspectors.
He says the protesting workers will be needed after the repairs to carry out inspections among other things.