Prime minister hails Jamaican workers

PRIME Minister Andrew Holness has saluted Jamaican workers for their role in the development of the country.

“I thank all workers who continue to make strides in their fields of work for the betterment of our families and for Jamaica,” Holness said in his message read by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Audley Shaw, Member of Parliament for North East Manchester, during the National Workers’ Week and Labour Day church service held Sunday at Mandeville Church of God in Jamaica.

“They (workers) have played a significant role in the socio-economic development of our great country and especially now when our essential workers have shown great commitment and resilience, we thank them,” the prime minister said.

He noted that undoubtedly, the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic has been devastating and has impacted the country’s productivity.

Holness said that both the public and private sectors have had to adjust operations to observe COVID-19 protocols and measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act, which include: working from home, meeting virtually and working under more flexible and more accommodating arrangements.

“In that regard, as we evolve the way in which we operate, let us also work as efficiently and as innovatively as we can to return to full productive capacity so [that] our economy may rebound faster and more robustly,” he added.

Holness said the annual observation of Workers’ Week signifies the importance of highlighting the historic contributions of the labour movement and workers’ rights to national development.

“Our predecessors struggled, endured and fought hard-won battles to ensure every Jamaican can enjoy greater bargaining rights, improved working conditions, and a more harmonious working relationship between workers and employers,” the prime minister pointed out.

He said today’s workforce is guaranteed more rights and privileges because of the heroism, foresight and dedication of the country’s forebears.

“Now Jamaica has more labour laws to protect the rights of our workers, and we no longer have rampant civil unrest in our society caused by labour disputes. Indeed, Jamaica’s labour relations environment has been built on respect and the rule of law, which acknowledges the rights of workers and employers,” Holness noted.

He acknowledged the tremendous work that has been done in creating an enabling environment for the realisation of the country’s decent work agenda and the protection of workers’ rights, including those regarding the nation’s children.

“Indeed, stalwarts such as Sir Alexander Bustamante, Norman Manley, St William Grant, Hugh Shearer, Dwight Nelson, among other outstanding labour movement leaders, have played an integral role in transforming the labour movement so we can now have a better country in which to live and work,” Holness said.

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