Workers must protect their rights
Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke

Dear Editor,

I am still trying to figure out what Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke means when he says that the Government has simplified what is being described as myriad salary and allowance packages that presently obtain in the public sector and other affiliated bodies.

You mean to tell me that the workers and union leaders are so hard-headed that they cannot understand even when the Rhodes scholar simplifies the equation, or is it that the minister of finance’s head is so way up in the clouds that no one, it seems, can summon him to come back to the ground?

I recall during a maths class in high school, my maths teacher of many years standing got vex with me because he put forward a 10-step solution to a maths question and when I got my chance I showed him that it could be done in six steps. Yeah man, Smithy did a boil up.

Indeed, I am concerned that Dr Clarke, coming from the private sector to become a minister of finance, may not be the right fit because our private sector tends to be unsupportive of unionisation.

Many companies in Jamaica have resorted to this contract worker business so that it is easier to cast away employees that they deem unfit for one reason or the other.

Yes, many people will respond by saying that there are robust labour laws to protect the the rank-and-file worker, but how much protection is there?

Up to a couple days ago, it was reported that many companies were not even paying over National Housing Trust (NHT) contributions accrued by their present and former employees and it is only when these people turn up at the NHT office they hear that their employer did them wrong, and justice seems to drag its feet in this regard. But not so when an employee is found to have stolen from an employer, though. The police are quick to come in and arrest, with court proceeedings following quickly thereafter, and you wonder about the backlog that our courts speak of.

There is so much hypocrisy going on here.

In the Cayman Islands, no foreigner can own over 50 per cent of any company formed there, yet we have foreigners making billions in Jamaica at the expense of our poor working class.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness recently suggested that we may need to hire foreign skilled workers and I wondered what happened to the many foreign workers who have been coming to Jamaica for decades, why wasn’t there a training programme to get them to transfer skills before they left?

Astronomers have been able to predict the existence of a planet, not by physical sight but by the disturbance created by known bodies near to it. It seems the same thing is happening in Jamaica with our prime minister and minister of finance. I just want to know who are the puppet masters, because I am convinced these two are tied to some string.

Mark Trought

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