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‘From raising cane to remote work’


THE effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the labour market, the relevance of the labour laws in place today, and their historical origins are some of the issues to be raised at a Labour Day panel discussion entitled, ‘From raising cane to remote work: The evolution of work and labour laws in Jamaica’.

The pre-recorded discussion will be aired Monday, May 24 – Labour Day – on the JN Foundation’s YouTube page at 4:00 pm.

Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation, said the event is being organised by the JN Foundation to raise awareness about the genesis of Labour Day in Jamaica, and to highlight the sacrifices of our fore parents made, so that Jamaicans can benefit from the labour laws being enforced today.

“While there is still work to be done, we cannot disagree that the strong advocacy of trade unionists, community leaders, and political representatives has redound to our collective benefit,” Allen said.

“With the development of labour laws, which nurture productivity and protect the interests of workers, and employers, we are at a point where that evolution must continue, if we are to make Jamaica, the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business,” she said.

Jodi-Ann Bowen, project officer, JN Foundation, said that the event is being organised by the JN Foundation, through the Parish Histories of Jamaica Project, an initiative of the JN Foundation.

She pointed out that one of the stalwarts of the labour movement in Jamaica, Pearnel Charles Sr, will share some of the historical events which shaped the labour movement in Jamaica.

Meanwhile, Dr Sonjah Stanley Niaah, director of the Institute of Caribbean Studies at The UWI, Mona, will moderate the event. The panellists will include the first female political ombudsman, Donna Parchment Brown; O’Neil Grant, president of the Jamaica Civil Service Association; and veteran trade unionists Danny Roberts and Ruddy Thomas. Minister of state, Ministry of Labour & Social Security, Zavia Mayne, will also take part.

The JN Foundation said through a collaborative effort with the History and Archaeology Department at The University of the West Indies, Mona, histories of the parishes are researched and documented. The histories are written for an easy read, and are accompanied by captivating photographs of historical sites. Completed parish histories are housed on the project’s website, www.parishhistoriesofjamaica.org.

To date, the JN Foundation has published the history of seven parishes on the project’s website. Already done are Portland, Trelawny, St Mary, St Thomas, St Catherine, St Elizabeth, and St James. The project is now writing the parish history of Kingston and will soon start the history of Hanover.

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