The Nurses’ Association of Jamaica (NAJ) has agreed to a 16-percent wage increase for its members.

The NAJ signed the agreement for the 2017 to 2021 wage and fringe benefit package, this afternoon at a contract signing ceremony at the Finance Ministry.

The increase over the four year period is to start with five percent in year one, two percent in year two, four in year three, and five in year four.

Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke says the government has considered all the needs expressed by the nurses in arriving at the agreement.

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He says the nurses represent one of the nation’s greatest assets.

Minister Clarke says additional funding will be provided to assist nurses to advance academically.

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Dr. Nigel Clarke, Finance Minister, speaking this afternoon at the contract signing ceremony for the Nurses’ Association of Jamaica wage package. He says the government is also providing four more thirty seater buses to transport nurses to and from work.

In the meantime, NAJ president, Carmen Johnson, says the package isn’t satisfactory, but her members understand the economic climate facing the government.

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She says the benefits included wage deal will make life easier for public sector nurses.

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The Jamaica Teachers’ Association and several other Public Sector Unions signed wage agreements with the government earlier this year.

The Jamaica Police Federation, which represents the rank and file members of the police force, is yet to ink a wage deal with the government.