KINGSTON — Trade Unionist, Sir Leroy Trotman, has emphasised that tripartite social dialogue is a critical component in establishing a partnership in the "real economy" for wealth creation and sustainability.
The real economy, he explained, is made up of Government, employers, workers and workers' representatives.
Sir Leroy, a Barbadian, was making his presentation at a seminar hosted by the Public Sector Monitoring Committee (PSMC), at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, on September 6, under the theme: ‘Social Partnership to Achieve National Objectives’.
"From Beijing to Bermuda, from Kingston to Kuala Lumpur, tripartite social dialogue is paraded with justification as our best local remedy for social development,” the Trade Unionist said.
He argued that the fundamental principles and rights at work led to the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) promotion of the decent work agenda.
"Simply put, the ILO family was calling for increased creation of jobs, but not just any job opportunities; these were to be freely chosen with the capacity to cater to the basic needs of the workers and to provide, as well, for recreation at some level and for retirement,” Sir Leroy said.
"Decent work also demanded basic social security protection in accordance with Convention 102 and other relevant ILO instruments. It required certain ILO standards and national laws to ensure that the fundamental human rights of workers were respected, including the freedom to associate, the right to bargain collectively and the right to ‘a voice’ at the workplace. This, it is argued, is possible only if there is an accepted view that the parties should meet in meaningful dialogue to advance the wellbeing of the firm, the enterprise and even the country,” he continued.
He noted that Jamaica has sought to develop a ‘Jamaica Decent Work Programme’- a tripartite vision for Jamaica – to confront its challenges, adding that, “Prime Minister Bruce Golding committed Jamaica, in 2009 at the ILO, to a total national effort in this direction and he should be supported."
He cited two other initiatives which the ILO has embarked on – the social justice declaration and the global jobs pact of 2009.
"These international instruments are further attempts by this tripartite body to reinforce the view that lasting peace will never be achieved until we have social justice," he said.
Citing the experience of Barbados during their economic crisis of 1991, Sir Leroy noted that social partnership played a key component in moving the country forward.
"A social partnership has to show the worker good reasons for concessions. Transparency, goodwill, knowledge sharing and the assurance that those with greater talents and greater resources will step up to the plate first, these will go far toward levelling the playing field and creating the climate for joint action,” he said.
The seminar is being held as part of the effort of the Government and trade unions representing public sector workers to arrive at a consensus on the approach to be adopted in setting the parameters for public sector wages and conditions of employment.
Participants at the two-day seminar include members of the PSMC, Permanent Secretaries and Heads of agencies, public sector workers’ representatives and representatives of the private sector.
Among the topics being examined are: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Standby Agreement Conditionalities and the way forward; Growth Inducement in the Medium Term: Social Partnership to Achieve National Objectives; Public Sector Transformation; and Productivity in the Public Sector.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter