JIS News

Minister of National Security, Senator Dwight Nelson, is calling for a less adversarial approach to industrial relations in Jamaica.
“Mark you, the need for fight still exists and will always exist, because you will always have this difference between price and cost, but we have to move away from the adversarial relationship,” he said to a group of students at the Mona School of Business at the University of the West Indies yesterday (February 24).
Senator Nelson, who has some 30 years of experience as a trade unionist, appeared at home as he spoke on the topic: ‘Current Developments in the Local Industrial Relations Environment,’ including the flexi-work week arrangement now being debated in Parliament, and the hearing of complaints from non-unionised workers by the Industrial Disputes Tribunal.
Turning to efforts to implement a social partnership involving labour, capital and government, Senator Nelson said that there is still a lot of work to be done to improve the relationship among the tripartite parties.
A Performance for Transformation team was set up to hammer out the social partnership, and all three parties have been meeting and have agreed, to a large extent, on the priority areas.
Senator Nelson is however impatient for the process to be completed and he lamented that while “Barbados has just completed their fifth protocol, fifth social contract, among the tripartite; we haven’t been able to come up with one.”
He also called for an improvement in the interpersonal relationships at the workplace, especially between workers and management.
Turning to the country’s trade unions, Senator Nelson said they run the risk of becoming irrelevant if they do not adapt to new realities. “Trade unions for the most part have to play a greater advisory role in the relationships and for this reason, they have to educate themselves, they have to access knowledge,” he insisted.
Senator Nelson also told the students that he was looking forward to seeing legislation enacted to deal with sexual harassment at the workplace as no such laws currently exist in Jamaica.

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