Joseph Matalon to Chair Jamaica Productivity Centre Advisory Board


Businessman Joseph Matalon has been appointed chairman of the Advisory Board of the Jamaica Productivity Centre (JPC).
This board will be responsible for overseeing the programmes and activities of the JPC. “We are going through great pains to put together an advisory board for the Productivity Centre [as] we are determined to give the Productivity Centre what it needs,” said State Minister for Labour and Social Security, Andrew Gallimore, as he addressed the launch of National Productivity Awareness Week recently at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston.
Mr. Matalon’s appointment is expected to assist efforts to improve the country’s productivity rate, which according to Mr. Gallimore is “heading in the wrong direction”.
Comparing Jamaica’s productivity rate with that of its regional partners, Mr. Gallimore cited research done by the JPC, which shows that while gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in the Caribbean has grown at an average of 2.3 per cent per annum over the last 10 years, Jamaica’s GDP per capita declined by approximately 0.01 per cent per annum over the same period.
“Trinidad’s productivity is three times more than our Jamaican population. They are currently growing by approximately 3.4 per cent while we are declining by.12 per cent,” he pointed out. “Without being an alarmist, I would like to say we are in crisis. We are heading in the wrong direction,” he stated.
According to Mr. Gallimore, the country has not paid much attention to productivity and its implications for the economy and improving the lives of Jamaicans.
“There is hardly anything more important to growth and development of our country than productivity,” he stated, noting that every Jamaican “would like to live a better life. these things will only be possible with significantly increased productivity”.
The Labour State Minister said that if Jamaica is to improve the current level of productivity, there must be a unified approach between employers and employees. “For too long in Jamaica, we have had a situation where the employers want to pay the least and get the most and the person that is doing the work wants to do the least and get the most. We have to agree that for persons to get an increase they have to produce and we have to agree that when they produce, they will get an increase,” he said.
He noted further that, “every time that we have a dispute between management and labour, if there is not a fair and objective way of settling that dispute, which represents an outcome that is in the national interest, then no matter who wins, Jamaica loses.”
Mr. Gallimore said that the Ministry will be looking to the Productivity Centre to provide unbiased and objective data that can guide the relationship between the trade unions and the employers.
In his remarks at the function, Labour Minister, Pearnel Charles said that the Ministry will be working to ensure that workers, within all categories of work, are certified. “We are going to make it absolutely clear sometime next year, that we are going to be having certification of workers within all categories of work throughout Jamaica,” he stated.
In the meantime, he said that the Ministry will be moving from the position of “putting out strikes” to emphasizing human resource development to enhance productivity.
National Productivity Awareness week was observed under the theme: Enhancing Living Standards Through Productivity Growth.

JIS Social