JCSA expands Industrial Relations training to South Central Region

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND Observer staff reporter sutherlanda@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, April 05, 2015

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Twenty-five professionals, including 23 civil servants and two representatives from the private sector, recently started a certificate course in industrial relations hosted by the Jamaica Civil Service Association's (JCSA's) South Central Region.

Organisers say the course is the first of its kind to be hosted by the JCSA in that region and the first outside of Kingston.

The industrial relations course, which was inaugurated in Kingston in 2011, involves a partnership between the JCSA and Management Institute for National Development (MIND).

The expansion of the programme beyond Kingston is among the new initiatives of a renewed Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed in a ceremony prior to the initial class at the MIND campus on Perth Road in Mandeville.

Mayor of Mandeville Brenda Ramsay described the course as long overdue.

"Industrial relations is a very important aspect of management that contributes to the smooth operations of any company and an aspect which, if not properly managed, can lead to disruptions, poor interpersonal relationships and sometimes very costly financial outcomes," she said.

The disharmony at work places, Ramsay argued, sometimes results from the fact that many managers do not take the time to familiarise themselves with rules and regulations such as the Labour Laws of Jamaica.

Union representatives, Mayor Ramsay said, may also act in ways that contribute to industrial relations breakdown.

"The participants of this course will be more cognisant of the industrial relations policies that govern their respective entities. We are expecting that when you return you will share the information that you have acquired and make others more aware... The content of the course is not only for greater knowledge but really to be put in practice to foster a healthier industrial relationship climate...," Ramsay said.

Jorjette Lewis, a regulator at the Department of Co-operatives and Friendly Societies, and senior tax auditor at Tax Administration Jamaica Vaughn Wilson told the Jamaica Observer Central, prior to their first class, that they expected to benefit considerably.

The cohort for the five-month course consists of students from Manchester, St Elizabeth, Clarendon and St Catherine.

O'Neil Grant, JCSA president, said that the training forms part of the structure of an evolving public sector where workers are measured by a "performance-based" system.

"Whilst we chase performance we must recognise that the people who you are asking to perform are human beings with their individual challenges," Grant said. "Sometimes these individual challenges impact the very performance that we are trying to get out of the persons. If you are not a good manager and if you don't have machinery within the organisation to recognise and to treat with them we are always going to be chasing performance, we are never going to be able to achieve it."

Grant said that making the move to expand the course to the South Central Region is a platform from which the efforts can be continued and persons in the JCSA North East and Western regions can, in the future, also benefit from training.

He said the cost of the course is $70,000, but members of the association enrolled in the programme get a 50 per cent bursary towards their studies.

According to MIND, since inception 128 persons have completed the course.

 


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