Granville Valentine, General Secretary of the National Workers Union (NWU), has come to the defence of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), which is under fire from some of its members for signing a new wage agreement with the government.
The University and Allied Workers Union (UAWU) has temporarily withdrawn from the Confederation, accusing its president, Helene Davis White, of signing the deal in secret and disregarding its concerns about the provisions of the agreement.
Speaking with RJR News on Wednesday, NWU General Secretary Granville Valentine, who is also a vice president of the Confederation, dismissed the UAWU's claims.
"We stand by the position that we have taken. We believe at the time it is the best deal. It is something that we would do whether or not any other government was in power... There comes a time that you look at national interest and you look at the bigger picture for and behalf of all the people," he argued.
Mr. Valentine insisted that items the JCTU requested from the government are included in the new wage package, adding that he is baffled by the position taken by the UAWU.
"I don't understand some aspect of the discrepancy because some of the very people who are opposing, many of the things that we agreed upon were proposed by them; and it is sad that we are here, but we are not looking for division at this time, we are looking to unite," he maintained.
Three other unions - the Union Of Technical Administrative & Supervisory Personnel (UTASP), the United Union of Jamaica (UUJ) and the Union of Schools, Agricultural and Allied Workers (USAAW) - have also refused to sign the agreement.