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Story Highlights

  • The forum will be held on Wednesday, May 21 at 6:00 p.m. at Emancipation Park in Kingston, under the theme ‘Flexi-Work for Labour Market Reform and Sustainable Development’.
  • The event will look at the challenges of flexible work arrangements and its impact.
  • The panel will “discuss the significance of flexi time for Jamaica, the benefits to be derived from the arrangement, and how one can expect improvements in productivity

As debate surrounding flexible work arrangements intensifies, Jamaicans are being urged to participate in an upcoming panel discussion that will focus on the issue.

The forum will be held on Wednesday, May 21 at 6:00 p.m. at Emancipation Park in Kingston, under the theme ‘Flexi-Work for Labour Market Reform and Sustainable Development’.

The event will look at the challenges of flexible work arrangements and its impact on work ethics, productivity, industrial relations, and other elements necessary to Labour Market Reform.

Trade Unionist and Head of the Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Education Institute (HLSTUEI), Danny Roberts, appealed to members of the public, especially workers and employers, to be a part of the dialogue because of the implications it will have on the working environment.

Mr. Roberts who was speaking at a JIS Think Tank held Thursday, May 15, at the agency’s head office in Kingston explained that the panel will “discuss the significance of flexi time for Jamaica, the benefits to be derived from the arrangement, and how one can expect improvements in productivity, efficiency, and the general economic development of the country. It is also part of ensuring that the Jamaican economy can respond to the dynamics of global changes and the global reality”.

Principal Director of Culture in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Dahlia Harris, who was also present at the Think Tank, reiterated the significance of the public’s involvement in the discourse.

“Sometimes when the public hears that we are hosting a public forum they tend to believe that this may not be relevant to me, and then months or even years afterward when policies and programmes are put in place then people say we were not allowed to have a voice,” Miss Harris noted.

She encouraged Jamaicans, particularly those making decisions affecting flexi hours and work, to participate and make representation. “So that, in the long run when decisions are made, they are fruitful to everyone,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Roberts called on workers to appreciate the role of the nation’s forefathers in the 1938 island-wide labour unrests and how it paved the way for their rights, even as the country prepares to celebrate another Workers’ Week.

“The development of modern Jamaica, its political, social and economic contours was largely influenced by the role of labour coming out of the 1938 struggles centered around economic deprivation, social exclusion, and absence of political involvement and participation,” the trade unionist pointed out.

He added that, “I would hope that the symbolism of the 1938 struggle, which we are today representing, will cause us to look beyond the theme and the other areas of involvement, to really reflect and introspect on its significance and the lessons that we can draw from that to make Jamaica a better place”.

The panel discussion, organised by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, forms part of this year’s Workers’ Week activities which will run from May 18 to 23. The week will culminate on Labour Day, Friday, May 23.