JIS News

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles, has called on employers and trade unions to work in unison, in order to improve Jamaica’s productivity level.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day Productivity Conference, hosted by the Jamaica Productivity Centre (JPC), today (October 28), at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, the Minister emphasised that the Government is committed to ensuring that the country’s productivity level increases.
“This conference is very important and I am calling on the management of capital and the management of labour to work together. It is important that peace reigns, and that respect is given to a man who invests his life and family in labour. If we get that kind of co-operation, productivity will improve,” he asserted.
“We (the Government) intend to move the percentage of productivity to a higher level, because right now it is embarrassing to talk about what the percentage of productivity is. We can say to management and trade union leaders who are here today, to continue the encouragement between management and labour, because we are going to make it and go forward,” the Minister said.
According to research done by the JPC, Jamaica is ranked 86 out of 136 countries in the 2008/09 World Economic Forum of Global Competitiveness Index, which measures the productive potential of nations.
The report notes that Jamaica is placed in the second stage of development or the efficient-driven stage of development. At this stage of development, competitiveness is increasingly driven by, among other things, higher education and training, efficient goods market, and well functioning labour market.
With this in mind, a necessary and sufficient response to the competitiveness challenge, the report said, is productivity improvement, which is more sustainable and effective than currency depreciation, generally pursued as a strategy to improve competitiveness.
Productivity improvement involves producing better quality products, by using fewer resources. With improved products and using resources more efficiently and effectively, companies will realise an increase in their rate of return, which will increase their incentive to invest. Also, Governments will earn more in taxes, which can be used to lower the debt burden, improve existing infrastructure, and other institutions, such as justice, health, environment and education.
Workers will also benefit from productivity gains, the report said, translating into higher wages, and providing them with the incentive to improve their training and qualification.