The Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF) continues to be relevant by making tremendous strides toward improved employer/employee relations in Jamaica, and giving strong support to the enterprise development and productivity needs of the employers.
In an interview with JIS News, President of the JEF, Wayne Chen, says since 1958, the Federation has been the voice of Jamaica’s employers, both in the private and public sectors, by representing their views locally and internationally and providing workplace solutions.
“We continue to impact, and deal with workplace issues, not just human resource matters, but employer/employee relationships, policy making, dealing with the regulatory bodies and overall, we work with the leadership of the Labour Movement and the Government, to ensure that the industrial relations climate and the regulatory framework facilitate an efficient employer/employee relationship,” Mr. Chen highlights.
He adds that the Federation is committed to the expansion of decent work and expanded job opportunities for all Jamaicans within the country, and works closely with the leadership of the labour movement and the government to achieve this goal.
“The JEF continues to work tirelessly to improve and expand the number of opportunities for Jamaican workers. Employers will only prosper when employees prosper and we are all looking for ways to motivate our employees, to expand our enterprises, whether in the public or private sector, to make them more efficient and to achieve the goal of seeing Jamaica having a globally competitive workforce, in the context of us developing into a First World country,” the President says.
Mr. Chen points out that the Federation is involved in various activities geared at facilitating growth of enterprises and the labour force.
“We run a training institution and facilitate many courses and seminars geared towards improving the level of skills, competencies and overall competitiveness of enterprises and, by extension, the Jamaican workforce,” he informs.
The President adds that the JEF attends and participates in regular meetings with the Heads of the Union Movement and the Government to discuss matters relating to policies and employer/employee related legislations and regulations.
“We work very closely with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and, in recent years, all of the proposed legislations have been sent to us or we have been invited to participate in crafting legislations,” he informs.
The most recent, he says, is the Whistle Blower Act, which protects employees who may have information of malfeasance within their organisations.
He notes that representatives of the JEF have gone to Parliament and other fora to address concerns and make recommendations, “to ensure that the Jamaican legislations are entirely appropriate for the Jamaican workplace."
“We have worked closely with the Government and the leadership of the labour movement on the issue of flexi-hours, occupational safety and health, and on several other pieces of important labour legislations that have been passed, or are in the process of being passed,” Mr. Chen tells JIS News.
The President points out that another avenue of strengthening employee/employer relations and workplace policies is the annual business and workplace convention and expo, which allows for chief executive officers, general managers, human resource managers and other operators of organisations to interact, network, share ideas, discuss and plan strategies and best practices for their firms and companies.
The convention is slated for May 3 to 6 at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios, St. Ann.
“We have worked tirelessly over many years to enlighten employers, motivate employees and lobby for modern and best practices within the workplace. We believe that education and training will bring out the best in our people and will have the ultimate goal of creating a global and competitive workforce,” the President explains.
He argues that hosting the annual convention is a means of “bringing Jamaican entrepreneurs, academics and public servants into one place where we can share our experiences and best practices."
The JEF is well on its way in fulfilling its mission of ‘leading the development of an enabling business environment through effective representation and provision of value-added services that strengthen the ability of employers to optimise competitiveness and workplace harmony’.
By Kadian Brown, JIS PRO