JIS News

Labour and Social Security Minister, Dr. Horace Dalley, has said that government would be taking steps to ensure that future productivity incentive schemes developed for Jamaican workers, including tax exemptions and benefits, would be certified by the Jamaica Productivity Centre (JPC).
“That is where we want to go; we want to have this unit, this body, this organization, this structure in the country that approves, certifies and assesses productivity schemes,” he explained.
The Minister was speaking during the first in a series of meetings by the JPC, aimed at helping public and private sector organizations to reposition themselves and become competitive in global and regional markets. The meeting was held yesterday (Feb.14) at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston.
He said it was imperative that firms, sectors and industries recognize the importance of increasing their productivity levels in order to compete regionally and internationally.
Minister Dalley pointed out, that given the reality of the CARICOM Single Market (CSM) it was necessary that Jamaica be prepared to operate in a world in which it would no longer benefit from preferential treatment, protectionism and trade barriers on the global marketplace.
The accepted method of maintaining a competitive edge was through productivity enhancement, the Labour Minister said, noting that productivity was a proven and crucial component of increased competitiveness and socio-economic development.
Furthermore, he said that increasing productivity was not to be understood in terms of job losses or an attempt to get persons to work harder and longer, noting that the aim was to increase efficiency by utilizing all factors of production.
“Enhanced productivity means greater competitiveness; the more productive and competitive a company is, the more profit they generate and the higher the need for human capital,” Minister Dalley pointed out.
He noted that government’s understanding and commitment to facilitating improved productivity was noted extensively in the National Industrial Policy, which suggested that, “improving labour productivity, capital productivity and international competitiveness, were the strategies to achieving enhanced productivity”.
“It is therefore generally agreed that at least at the policy level, that improvements in productivity is an imperative for businesses and the economy in general to compete locally and internationally,” the Labour and Social Security Minister declared. In addition, he said, it was the government’s position that productivity growth was the basis on which the standard of living of nationals could be improved.
Meanwhile, Vice President of the Jamaica Employers Federation, Raymond Eytle, who brought greetings, said that JPC was critical in ensuring that Jamaica achieved world-class standards of productivity and competitiveness in the quest for sustainable socioeconomic development.
He noted that any growth in national productivity must involve the alliance and full cooperation of social partners, the government, management and labour.
Vice President of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions, Danny Roberts, noted that the importance of productivity to economic growth and sustainability could not be overemphasized, and had become more of an imperative with the institution of the CARICOM Single Market.
Furthermore, he said, there was a need to increasingly engage productivity bargaining in the collective bargaining process. Mr. Roberts said that in debating productivity bargaining, the essential characteristics of the process, including worker participation, information sharing, equity and social justice, should not be left out.
The working dialogue, which is being spearheaded by the JPC, serves to apprise stakeholders of the centre’s strategic focus and solicit support for its activities, share findings of research carried out, discuss international productivity trends and the implications for Jamaica in addition to discussing strategies for enhancing Jamaica’s productivity and competitiveness.
The JPC was formally inaugurated in April 2003.

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