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BITU delegates want more affordable housing for hotel staff

Monday, July 17, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) delegates in the hotel/tourism sector have called on the union to make representations to Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, for more affordable housing solutions for workers in the sector.

They made the call in a resolution, which was approved at the union's triennial general assembly at the Wolmer's High School for Boys, National Heroes Circle, Kingston, on Saturday.

The resolution read:

"WHEREAS the share of Travel & Tourism spending and employment was recorded to contribute 30.3 per cent of GDP in 2016 and Hotel Accommodation Services specifically contributed approximately 18.18 per cent of GDP or 60 per cent of Travel & Tourism direct earnings in said year;

“AND WHEREAS more than 95,000 workers are directly employed to this industry, with immediate plans for increases in these numbers from the construction of new hotels;
“AND WHEREAS the majority of these workers are in need of housing solutions at amenable prices that they can afford to purchase, as well as appropriate pension arrangements outside of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS);

“AND WHEREAS only approximately 5,000 such workers contribute to a Pension Scheme and approximately 85 per cent of these workers have no pension at;
“AND WHEREAS the non-availability of affordable housing solutions, and contributory pension schemes, continues to increase the workers' economic vulnerability after retirement as well as impacting on the workers' performance during the period of employment;

“BE IT RESOLVED THAT the BITU is requested to call on the Minister of Tourism, as well as the National Housing Trust (NHT), to make such representation as to emphasize the need for special amenable, affordable housing solutions for workers of the Hotel Industry;

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the BITU shall call on the Minister of Tourism to intensify efforts to encourage investors in the industry, to include a contributory pension schemes among the terms of employment of their staff, and ensure that such schemes are properly registered and monitored by Financial Services Commission (FSC), the regulatory body for such operations”.

Balford Henry

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