Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says that Jamaica is well advanced in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“Some of those goals are the eradication of extreme poverty, universal primary education, reduced childhood and maternity mortality, combating HIV/AIDS and malaria and sustainable development,” Minister Kellier said yesterday (May 21) at a Labour Day and Workers’ Week panel discussion at Emancipation Park, New Kingston.
In September 2000, world leaders came together at the United Nations headquarters in New York to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty by 2015.
The eight MDGS are: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empowering women; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; combating HIV and AIDS; ensuring environmental sustainability; and developing a global partnership for development.
Minister Kellier said the government is committed to meeting the targets set and striving for higher achievements. “We will continue to provide the framework through legislation, institutional capacity and social and economic policies,” he stated.
The Minister, in the meantime, lauded the contribution of Jamaican workers to nation-building, noting that over the past 15 to 20 years, there has been a departure from the adversarial bargaining environment to one of greater levels of cooperation and an effort “to build the kind of harmonious relationship from which the workers, employers and the society can benefit.”
“This is important because capital is necessary for labour to be productive, and our employers have played a significant role in fostering tripartite dialogue and industrial harmony,” he stated.
He contended that the trade unions and the formation of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) have contributed to this maturity in industrial relations.
“The consolidation of the movement into a single confederation means that the bitter rivalry between unions for membership among workers is a thing of the past,” he noted.
The panel discussion, under the theme: ‘Fifty Years of Trade Union Struggle: Retrospection, Introspection and Reflection’, was organised by the Ministry in collaboration with the JCTU, the Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Education Institute and the Labour Day Secretariat.
Other speakers were: Political Scientist, Professor Trevor Munroe; Sociologist and Radio Commentator, Dr. Orville Taylor; Vice President of the University and Allied Workers’ Union (UAWU), Muriel Johnson; and Social Historian, Louis Moyston. There were also reflections from stalwarts of the trade union movement.
By E. Hartman Reckord, JIS Reporter