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As part of National Workers Week activities this year, representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security will tour several businesses that have benefited from the interventions of the Jamaica Productivity Centre (JPC).

The interventions have focused on issues such as waste reduction, energy conservation, productivity-linked wage systems, and non-monetary compensation systems.

Speaking at the launch of National Labour Day 2013 and National Workers Week on Monday, May 13, at Jamaica House, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, said that the Ministry’s main focus this year is on achieving “a productivity revolution”.

“Hence, we intend to get into the workplace to see exactly what is happening and see what the interventions of the Jamaica Productivity Centre have been achieving,” he stated.

He informed that on May 16, there will be a tour of the Jamaica Bedding Company, as well as a facility on Slipe Road in Kingston, where several small businesses operate. The tours will begin three days before the official start of Workers Week, which will be observed from May 19 to May 23.

The JPC is the national organisation responsible for promoting and facilitating productivity enhancement at the national, sectoral, industry and enterprise levels.

It is a tripartite organisation comprising the Ministry, Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions and the Jamaica Employers’ Federation.

The Minister, in the meantime, is urging the society to use the occasion of Workers Week 2013 to reflect on ways in which persons can exercise greater support and voluntary action towards the vulnerable.

He also encouraged that Labour Day 2013 be used “as a public manifestation of our care and concern for the less fortunate by lending a hand to build our land.”

“Let us exercise maximum volunteerism this Labour Day. Let us touch the areas of deepest impact in the lives of our vulnerable brothers, sisters and children. Let us highlight their strengths over their weaknesses, let us fortify their faith in humanity, especially our humanity,” he encouraged.

The Ministry will also be using the electronic and print media to get its message of volunteerism and workers rights to the public.

President of the Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA), Oneil Grant, who brought greetings, noted that although the workers have come a far way, the struggle continues.

“We need to come to a point where we have dialogue; where we consider the people, who work for us not as cold machines that just churn out productivity, but as persons who have needs, persons who are impacted by what is in their environment and this will impact the work that they do,” Mr. Grant said.

Labour Day and Workers Week 2013 are being celebrated under the theme: ‘Lend a Hand…Build Our Land’.

Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, informed that the national project will be the St. Mary Infirmary in Port Maria.

She also pointed out that the launch of Labour Day and Workers’ Week 2013 is being celebrated against two significant milestones – the 40th anniversary of the declaration of Labour Day by late former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Michael Manley, and the 75th anniversary of the birth of the modern trade union movement, following the labour riots of 1938.

Contact: Andrea Braham