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Employers and workers are being encouraged to educate themselves about the country’s labour laws in order to facilitate smooth negotiations in settling disputes.

The call came from State Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Zavia Mayne, in his address at the Kingston leg of the ‘Labour Department and You’ road show at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston on Thursday (November 22).

“As we continue to have (bitter) labour disputes, we recognise that the majority of these cases could have been resolved at the organisational level if the parties had a better understanding of our labour laws,” he noted.

“Be proactive rather than being reactive and then finding that you are in breach of our labour laws… A better understanding of our labour legislation will also lead to a more productive and profitable organisation,” he added.

Mr. Mayne said the ‘Labour Department and You’ road show, which is being staged by the Ministry across the island, seeks to promote greater awareness among employers and workers about their rights.

Under the Labour Relations Code, employers should provide clear, comprehensive and non-discriminatory employment policies. Also, policies should address social welfare services such as medical care, canteens, pension, a well as occupational safety and health.

Some responsibilities of the workers are that they familiarise themselves with the terms of contract and perform contracted service to the best of their ability.

The road show, held over two days, addressed issues related to the job market, industrial relations, occupational safety and health, efforts to eliminate child labour, as well as local and overseas employment programmes.

The next stops are St. James, January 16 and 17; and St. Thomas, February 27 and 28.

The series of education and sensitisation fora involve collaboration with the Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF) and the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU).