Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says the country is currently experiencing an unprecedented degree of industrial stability.
Minister Kellier said this is a result of the robust and mature industrial relations mechanism that now exists in Jamaica.
Speaking at a press briefing held at the Ministry’s North Street offices in downtown Kingston on February 6, Mr. Kellier informed that work stoppages have declined over the 2010 to 2012 period.
Data from the Ministry show that there were 12 work stoppages during 2010, with a decline to 10 in 2011, and an even further reduction to six, last year. The statistics also show that for 2011 and 2012, a total of 245 and 372 industrial disputes were reported, respectively.
Mr. Kellier pointed out that a total of 187 or 76.3 per cent of the disputes recorded in 2011 were disposed of, compared to 306 or 82.2 per cent of those in 2012.
In light of the figures, Minister Kellier commended stakeholders in the industrial relations sector, particularly those working in the trade unions for their continued efforts.
“It is important to note that many of these disputes were not settled with the intervention of the Ministry of Labour, rather they were settled at the local level in admirable demonstration of the maturity and patience that now characterise the relationship between management and the trade unions,” he said.
“In fact, it is safe to say that with the exception of those disputes settled by the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) over the period under review, the evidence strongly suggests that we now have in Jamaica, a robust and mature industrial relations mechanism,” he further argued.
He noted that this should be recognised and celebrated by all concerned, as it demonstrates clearly that the focus of the country’s industrial relations stakeholders have moved away from narrow self-interests and conflict to a concern for nation-building and industrial peace.
“I am proud of the new level of understanding shared between our industrial relations stakeholders and I further salute their recognition and appreciation of the difficulties faced by the country at this time,” he said.
In the meantime, the Minister assured that the Government would continue to work with companies, organisations, schools and other institutions to sensitise the nation on the appropriate application of the labour laws and labour code against the recently amended Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Act.