JIS News

The Government is to establish a task force, comprised of bauxite/alumina industry stakeholders and the Opposition, to monitor developments in the industry.
The Office of the Prime Minister(OPM) said last night that Prime Minister Bruce Golding made the announcement at a meeting with the stakeholders at Jamaica House.
OPM also stated that Mr. Golding gave “complete assurance” that the Government would make every effort to protect the industry and the jobs of the workers.
The Prime Minister said that he had met with the Leader of the Opposition, who agreed that a task force comprised of representatives of the Government, the Opposition, trade unions in the sector and the employers, would be established to monitor developments and make recommendations to protect the industry.
The Prime Minister said that matters of land ownership and assistance for workers will also have to be addressed by the group.
“If a worker is going to find that instead of five days pay, he is taking home three, then it means that whatever mechanisms we can put in place to help him, we must get that moving as quickly as possible,” Mr. Golding assured the meeting.
Speaking on the possible sale of UC RUSAL Alumina Jamaica Limited’s interest in Windalco, the Prime Minister said that the company had reaffirmed its long-term interest in the plant, and that any sale of the assets would need Jamaica’s agreement.
Mr. Golding said that there are no indications of cutbacks or the suspension of production at Alcoa.
He said that while the Chinese preparatory work to develop the Reynolds plant had slowed, the Government was encouraged that the project would go ahead when economic conditions improve.
He also commended the unions for the efforts they have made to discuss the issues with the workers and to prepare them for the challenges.
He added that the issue was not about their productivity, as Jamaica’s bauxite/alumina workers could hold their own in any alumina plant in the world.
Yesterday’s meeting was attended by the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles; Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance, Dwight Nelson; Minister of State for Energy, Laurie Broderick; Permanent Secretaries and high level representatives from the bauxite industry and the trade unions.

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