JIS News

Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, has called on the trade union movement to continue to embrace the principle of partnership in the thrust to enhance the welfare of the Jamaican workforce.
“We need to find a way to create sustainable employment and decent jobs for our people…we need now to change the course of history in this country, where all of us are going to work together for a better quality of life for all our people. I am prepared to lead this charge.for change,” Mrs. Simpson Miller stated.
She was addressing the 35th anniversary service of the University and Allied Workers Union (UAWU) held today (April 2), at the Rehoboth Apostolic Church in Portmore, St. Catherine.
According to the Prime Minister, “nothing can be done in this country without a partnership”.
“Trade unions, employers, workers, churches; what I called for on Thursday (at the swearing in ceremony) was a partnership, because I recognized before I began, that it was a mistake for anyone to believe that any one leader can bring the desired change and progress and success to a country,” she pointed out.
“That leader must have the majority of the people, if not all, moving with that leader, and a system to carry that torch for change,” she added.
The Prime Minister further charged the trade unions to help in the process to “heal the land”.
“You need to get out there in communities, not only to speak up for the workers, but to speak for those who are unemployed, the oppressed and the dispossessed,” she stated, noting that such a move would “rescue” members of the youth population, who were in “the clutches of criminals”.
She further congratulated the UAWU on 35 years of quality representation of the Jamaica workforce, noting that it “has had a brilliant run”.
“The struggle for freedom, democracy, equity and a decent standard of living for modern Jamaica is rooted in the trade union movement,” she pointed out.
In his remarks, past president of the UAWU, Senator Trevor Munroe, assured the Prime Minister that the organization stood ready to respond to her charge. “Partnership is the name of the game.we have to build that partnership,” he stated.
President of the UAWU, Lambert Brown, said that the union was proud of its 35 years of service and would continue to fulfill its mandate of improving the social and economic conditions of the Jamaican working class.
Meanwhile, head of the Jamaica Employers Federation, Audrey Hinchcliffe, noted that the trade union movement had matured over the years.
“The days of adversarial wranglings across the picket line happily seems to be lessening, instead .we meet around the table to discuss perspectives and iron out differences as we work for the best interest of the worker and the employer,” she pointed out.
The UAWU, which is an arbitrating body for workers in both the private and public sectors, was established in April 1971.