Gov't signs wage deal in Jamaica, where public workers have been laboring under wage freeze

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Jamaica has signed a new wage deal with some trade unions that will see salaries boosted by 4 percent during the agreement's first year.

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The pact was signed Tuesday after weeks of negotiations with several syndicates belonging to a union umbrella group. It covers April 2015 to March 2017. The government says benefits will include tuition refunds, child grants and training.

Public sector workers have been laboring under a wage freeze in Jamaica, which is in the third year of a four-year $930 million loan package with the International Monetary Fund.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller says public workers "continue to make great sacrifices" in support of Jamaica's economic program.

Earlier this year, the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research said Jamaica was running the world's "most austere budget."