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    • Minister of Labour, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Derrick Kellier, has hailed the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) for its contribution to the stability in the labour market, thus creating a friendly climate for investors to do business in Jamaica.
    • “The IDT has done much to maintain peace and harmony among workers and employers. The climate has never been better at any time in our history for local and overseas investors to look at Jamaica in a favourable way and it really is a credit to the work that is being done,” he said.
    • With the 2010 amendment to the Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Act (LRIDA), non-unionised workers can now bring their cases directly to the tribunal, which has resulted in an increase in caseloads.

    Minister of Labour, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Derrick Kellier, has hailed the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) for its contribution to the stability in the labour market, thus creating a friendly climate for investors to do business in Jamaica.

    “The IDT has done much to maintain peace and harmony among workers and employers. The climate has never been better at any time in our history for local and overseas investors to look at Jamaica in a favourable way and it really is a credit to the work that is being done,” he said.

    He also credited the industrial relations department in the Ministry as well as employers and unions for their “maturity” in settling disputes.

    Minister Kellier was speaking yesterday (December 17) during the official opening of new office space at the IDT at 4 Ellesmere Road, Kingston 10.

    The offices have been expanded to include an additional conference room and an area for stenographers.

    Minister Kellier said that the opening of the new office facilities comes as the IDT prepares to play a more dynamic role in the industrial relations scene in Jamaica. “This is quite appropriate given the focus this Administration is now placing on labour market reform as vehicle for transformation in a modern economy,” he stated.

    He said the expanded offices “will serve to enhance the IDT in their responsibility for expeditious settlements.”

    With the 2010 amendment to the Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Act (LRIDA), non-unionised workers can now bring their cases directly to the tribunal, which has resulted in an increase in caseloads.

    “During fiscal year 2013/14, the IDT handled 145 disputes, 48 more than the previous year. The tribunal handed down 33 awards, 17 more than 2012/13, two disputes were withdrawn and 15 others settled by agreement,” he informed.

    Minister Kellier said the aim now is to have a 30 per cent clear-up rate for outstanding matters which, as of March this year, remained at 93.

    In the meantime, Minister Kellier said the Government remains committed to the labour market reform process and will establish a secretariat by the end of the fiscal year to further support the Labour Market Reform Commission.

    The commission, which will oversee the process of reform, will comprise representatives of the private and public sectors as well as academia.

    Chairman of the IDT, Norman Wright, in his remarks, said the tribunal has worked to create an amicable environment for workers and employers.

    “The tribunal is doing its best to maintain the kind of atmosphere in relation to employers that is in keeping with a fair, civilised approach and keeping workers protected in that they are represented by unions,” he said.

    Mr. Wright noted that the tribunal has seen an increase in cases since the LRIDA was amended to welcome non-unionised workers.

    “In 2011, there were 37 disputes, 13 of which were non-unionised. In 2012, there were 38 cases, 25 of which were non-unionised, while in 2013, 55 disputes were referred, of which 34 of them represented non-unionised workers and for this year, there have been 42 disputes out of which 32 were non-unionised,” he highlighted.

    He also urged employers and employees to approach the tribunal with a view to negotiate instead of winning.

    The IDT was established in 1975 as a means to provide for the regularisation of relations between employers and employees and to enquire into industrial disputes and matters connected with labour relations or economic conditions.

     

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