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PNP defends the labour laws and code

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The People's National Party (PNP) is defending the enactment of the Labour Relations and Industrial Relations Act (LRIDA) in 1975 and the Labour Relations Code in 1976 declaring that they were watershed actions by the PNP administration led by Michael Manley, which “levelled the industrial playing field and gave workers unprecedented rights and dignity”.

In a statement today, the party's Shadow Minister of Labour and Social Security, Horace Dalley said the PNP Executive Committee at its sitting last night discussed the recent attacks on the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) and asserted that the rights of the Jamaican workers must be preserved at all cost.

The party said private sector groups and members of the government, in relation to the Petrojam/Ramharrack issue, have recently expressed concern that the IDT is “employee centric” and had been ruling in favour of workers and against employers.

Dalley said that the PNP executive wishes to remind interest groups involved in the present debate that Clause 2 of the Labour Code sets out clearly the philosophy behind the existing arrangements, stating in full that “recognition that work is a social right and obligation, it is not a commodity; it is to be respected and dignity must be accorded to those who perform it, ensuring continuity of employment, security of earnings and job satisfaction”.

Dalley argued that the IDT was established under the LRIDA to provide for the appointment of arbitrators in both public and private sectors to rule in industrial disputes. Prior to its coming to being, he noted, arbitration was subject to ad-hoc voluntary agreements.

He said that the legislation emanated from consultations between trade unions, employers and the State, with the specific objective of ensuring that workers' rights are not infringed in the workplace.

“Any attempt to reverse this would be a backward step and out of sync with the conventions of the International Labour Organisation. The progress made in Jamaica through many years of struggle by the Jamaican workers and their representatives must be protected,” Dalley said.


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