New Approach to Industrial Relations Needed – Charles


Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles, has pointed to the need for a new approach to labour relations in Jamaica, which is built on greater understanding and partnership between workers and employers.
He noted that the industrial climate, as it now stands, is very challenging with interests on both sides making demands to counter economic realities.
“We need to subscribe to a new approach cognizant of the environment in which we are operating. We need to make a real assessment of what the (employer) can do and cannot do,” he stated.
The Minister was addressing the official opening of the JEF’s 28th annual ‘Business and Workplace Convention and Expo’ on Thursday (May 6) at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort and Spa in Ocho Rios.
Stressing the need for dialogue and creative ways to address issues, Mr. Charles said that “too many employees continue to view employers as oppressors rather than partners. If Jamaica is to progress further, it requires action and commitment from employers, workers and Government”.
“Cooperation and commitment are necessary for a national partnership, which will redound to the good of Jamaica, to our employees, to our employers and to our investors,” he added.
He stated that the Ministry is making progress in helping to foster good labour relations and create the environment to increase production and productivity, with legislation put in place to achieve the desired results. These include amendments to the Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Act (LRIDA) to give non-unionized workers and management access to the Industrial Disputes Tribunal.
In addition, the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), which is to protect the safety and health of workers and encourage a culture of participation, is now being drafted. This Act will also address HIV in the workplace.
The Labour Minister, in the meantime, urged the employers to continue to respond proactively to the economic crisis and invest to keep the wheels of production going. “Amidst the challenges facing us as a union, we can find avenues of opportunities that can propel us to a brighter future,” he stated.
He further assured of the Government’s commitment “to continue to partner with all stakeholders in Jamaica. We are committed to putting Jamaica first, despite the challenges facing us.”
The four-day convention is being held under the theme: ‘Crisis to Opportunity: Endless Possibilities’ and will expose Jamaican and Caribbean businesses to world class, cutting edge practices and innovation.

JIS Social