The government has responded to calls from employers and employees to address issues affecting the Labour Market in light of the Covid19 pandemic. Labour and Social Security Minister, Karl Samuda, has assembled a strong team of experts in a task force to address the issue. Speaking to the group at its first meeting on Monday, Minister Samuda, outlined the scope of work and said he expects to receive the first Report by the end of February next year.
It will examine the Labour Market implications; legislative and policy, provide legislative and or policy recommendations to the Labour Advisory Council (LAC) chaired by the Minister and provide recommendations to address the immediate impact of Covid19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Covid 19 Labour Market Task Force, Professor Neville Ying, said the Task Force must contextualize its objectives in light of the impact of Covid19 globally and on Jamaica, including critical areas such as business closures and job losses.
He told members of the Task Force that thousands of job positions have been made redundant since the arrival of COVID19 and that Jamaica’s economy is projected to decline by 11% even as the flow of Remittances remain steady.
In outlining the framework for the work to be done by the Task Force, Professor Ying said, the tenets of the International Labour Organization (ILO), must guide its deliberations. It must be Evidence and Rules based and maximize the power and value of Social Dialogue. The ILO tools of Core Labour Standards, Decent Work Agenda and Conventions and Recommendations will also be utilized as important points of reference.
The erstwhile Professor, gave the clearest indication that the approach of the Task Force will be a global one. It will also focus on Job Creation and Employment, synchronized Financing by International Development Institutions for Developing Countries and major strategies for Job Creation and Employment viz-a-viz Infrastructure Development such as urgent attention to our damaged network of roads, resulting from the recent effects of the outer bands of hurricanes, Digital Infrastructure for internet access in all communities rural and urban across Jamaica.
The Task force will highlight the importance of the Future Work Place that will be technology driven, with primarily digital and home-based work. This will require urgent changes in the roles of Tripartite members i.e. Employer, Trade Unions and Government. The Future Workplace will also require key competencies for employees and employers and a new concept and practice of life-long learning. The Task Force, which is a sub-set of the Labour Advisory Council (LAC).
It comprises of:
- Professor Neville Ying (Chairman)
- Granville Valentine (NWU)
- Clifton Grant (UAWU)
- David Wan (JEF)
- Cheryl Price (JEF)
- Wayne Chen (Caribbean Employers Federation)
- Deidra Coy (Planning Institute of Jamaica)
- Donavon Wignall (MSME) and Donna Evelyn (Jamaica Council of Churches)