Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, said that Jamaica is fully committed to the principles of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Decent Work Agenda, in improving productivity and ensuring the social protection of workers.
“All the tenets of the Decent Work Agenda are being adhered to, with respect to the Labour Advisory Council, the employers, the unions and the Ministry,” he stated at a recent meeting with ILO officials held at the Ministry’s North Street offices.
He said that the programme, which seeks to ensure full and productive employment, and provide opportunities for social and economic advancement, is in tandem with Vision 2030 Jamaica: the National Development Programme.
He said that the Government is “very much tied to the Decent Work Agenda since its inception and we have been pursuing a lot of areas to improve the productive sector in Jamaica."
Among the areas, which are being given focus are: child labour, HIV/AIDS in the workplace, occupational safety and health, protecting the human rights of the disabled community, and the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).
Mr. Kellier noted that the Government is looking to undertake the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP), which he said, fits into the ILO initiative, as one of its areas of focus, is the training of youth in various areas in collaboration with HEART/Trust NTA, to further strengthen the productive sector.
He urged the ILO’s assistance in dealing with some matters including passage of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act. “We have a bill that we are trying to finalize for this fiscal year, and we are confident that the ILO will assist us in the passing of this bill,” he stated.
ILO Representative, Giovanni di Cola, who addressed the meeting, gave a commitment to provide continued support to the Ministry, to deal with the areas that need attention.
Minister Kellier, in closing, expressed gratitude to the organisation, and said he welcomed any additional assistance to boost productivity in Jamaica.
The ILO launched the Decent Work Agenda in 2000 as a means of reducing poverty and bringing fair and equitable work to people around the world.
It focus on creating opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income; security in the workplace and social protection for families; better prospects for personal development and social integration; freedom for people to express their concerns, organise and participate in the decisions that affect their lives; and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men.
“Decent Work is central to efforts to reduce poverty, and a means for achieving equitable, inclusive and sustainable development,” the ILO has said.
By Jeneva Gordon, JIS PRO