Ministry of Labour to Strengthen Conciliation Machinery


Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles, says that his Ministry will be strengthening its conciliation machinery to reduce the number of labour disputes referred to the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) for settlement.
Speaking at a Labour Advisory Committee (LAC) meeting Wednesday (July 15), at his Ministry’s offices on North Street in Kingston, Mr. Charles said that the Ministry needs to play a deeper mediatory role in resolving matters before they are sent to the IDT.
“The Ministry of Labour must take a much stronger hand to be able to settle cases,” he said.
“The Ministry should be in a position to listen to the employees and employers and make mediation, because some cases that have gone to the IDT are a waste of time,” he added.
Mr. Charles also suggested that there was need for a process to reduce, if not eliminate, strikes and lock outs of workers during industrial disputes, which would require that the Minister be informed as soon as a dispute develops.
Turning to the issue of productivity, Minister Charles said that there is need for a system to help increase productivity levels.
“I am convinced that the low productivity that we have in Jamaica, in most cases, is as a result of low wages. If you look at the high wage industries in Jamaica, their productivity is very high and their employees are in high spirit. We need to look at what we can do to increase productivity and increase wages,” he said.
The LAC is an industrial relations body comprising representatives of the Ministry, the Jamaica Employers Federation (JEF) and the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU). It is chaired by the Minister of Labour and meets regularly to discuss labour issues, based on the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) tripartite principle.

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