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Minister calls for end to short-term contracts for hotel workers

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, April 15, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Government has warned stakeholders in the tourism industry that the days of employing workers on short contracts in hotels are numbered.

The tourism sector, which raked in some US$3.3 billion from the 4.3 million visitors welcomed to the Jamaican shores last year, directly employs approximately 120,000 people.

However, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, in expressing concerns about short-term contracts being offered to a number of hotel workers, said the workers' security of tenure must be guaranteed because the Ministry of Tourism has been spending millions of dollars to upgrade their skills.

“...The business of short contract arrangements has to give way to a more sustainable arrangements in keeping with the qualifications and the skills set that we will be providing in the industry,” Bartlett said during the ground-breaking ceremony for the Amaterra resort in Trelawny on the weekend.

“Workers will be able to be adoptive and to change towards the needs of the clients at a moment's notice [as it would be] a new type of worker. Now, what that means is there is going to be a change in the labour market arrangement in Jamaica and we are making the point very early as we have been talking to all our partners, including you, Amaterra, that the business of how the workers are classified or not, has to change,” said Bartlett.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who was the keynote speaker, said the Government and Jamaica Labour Party have been engaged in discussions about “the situation existing in tourism” sector.

“I was very happy to hear that the minister of tourism spoke about the situation existing in tourism as it relates to labour. We have been having this discussion internally within our party and within the Government about the employment situation in the tourism industry. I want to therefore endorse comments of the minister of tourism that this Government is about equitable and inclusive development where the people benefit from the development,” Holness said.

The prime minister urged Bartlett to speak about it more so that “workers can understand that the Government is looking out for their best interest”.

Last year, said Bartlett, “we gave certification to 650 who are now bearers of titles called the American Hotel and Lodging Institute, the AGLIE and the American Culinary Foundation.


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