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JM | May 14, 2022

Surprised by strike action, NHT says staff union gave no notice

/ Our Today

administrator
The New Kingston headquarters of the National Housing Trust (NHT).

The National Housing Trust (NHT) has apologised to customers who may have experienced in-branch delays after workers islandwide walked off the job in protest on Friday (May 13). 

The State-operated agency, in a statement yesterday, acknowledged unrest on the part of the NHT Staff Association (NHTSA) with respect to wage negotiations and the implementation of the results of a job evaluation exercise. 

According to the entity, the NHTSA failed to provide notice that industrial action was to be taken, especially since NHT management and union representatives last met the day before.

Management of the Government-run housing provider re-committed, however, to further “collective bargaining” and the amicable completion of negotiations, as a new meeting is set for Tuesday, May 17 to iron out details of the job evaluation exercise. 

See statement in full below: 

“The National Housing Trust (NHT), wishes to apologise to customers who may have experienced delays in accessing some in-branch services today. 

This, as some employees, who are members of the National Housing Trust Staff Association (NHTSA) appeared to have gone on strike.

The action is believed to be linked to their concerns about the slow pace of ongoing wage negotiations and the implementation of the results of a job evaluation exercise. 

The Management of the NHT and the NHTSA, which is affiliated with the University and Allied Workers’ Union (UAWU), representing the Grades 1-4 category of workers, last met on Thursday, May 12, 2022 to continue wage negotiations.

At the end of the meeting, the parties agreed to continue the negotiations on a date to be confirmed. 

The NHT’s Management was at no point served any notice of industrial action.

The NHTSA has indicated its refusal to accept the four per cent wage increase offered by the government to all Public Sector Workers. 

The Union of Clerical, Administrative and Supervisory Employees (UCASE), representing the Grades 5-7 category of workers and other staff, [has] accepted the government’s wage offer. 

The Management of the NHT remains committed to the collective bargaining process and looks forward to the completion of the negotiations in an amicable manner. 

With regard to the job evaluation exercise, the NHT’s management, and the NHTSA confirmed a meeting for Tuesday May 17, 2022 to discuss the way forward with the staff representatives.

Customers in the meantime are being reminded that in addition to our in-branch services, some NHT services are available online. 

Customers can apply for NHT contribution refunds as well as make mortgage payments via our website at www.nht.gov.jm. In addition, customers can make mortgage payments at various commercial banks or payment agencies.”

National Housing Trust (NHT) workers voicing their disapproval with the pace at which wage negotiations drag on by walking off the job and staging a protest in New Kingston on Friday, May 13, 2022.

In the third strike action to his the Andrew Holness administration in as many days, NHT workers abandoned their duties on Friday, lamenting little to no salary improvements and other operational concerns.

The protest, which started at the NHT’s New Kingston headquarters, quickly spread to other branches of the housing financing provider islandwide.

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