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Sectoral Debate: Spencer challenges gov't on labour market reform

Published:Thursday | April 30, 2015 | 12:00 AM

OPPOSITION SPOKESMAN on labour Rudyard Spencer is challenging claims by his counterpart Derrick Kellier that the Government is making strides in the areas of labour market reform and national productivity.

"I completely reject this notion and suggest to the minister that there have been no real gains and the Government should redouble its efforts towards gains," Spencer argued during his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Gordon House on Tuesday.

Spencer made reference to the establishment of an 18-member labour market reform committee which was announced last week by Kellier in his presentation to the Sectoral Debate.

The committee is expected to make recommendations in the areas of education, productivity, technology, innovation, labour policies, legislation, social protection and industrial relations.


Similar committee


On Tuesday, Spencer told his parliamentary colleagues that in November 1994, the then Cabinet of the People's National Party administration had set up a committee with a similar mandate. According to Spencer, to date, only one of its recommendations has been implemented. "The Ministry of Labour failed dismally to monitor the implementation of the recommendations of that committee," he said.

The opposition spokesman has urged the labour minister to establish a tripartite panel to review and implement the


On the issue of productivity, Spencer said the Government has failed to deliver in this area. He said studies done by the Jamaica Productivity Centre have showed that Jamaica is lagging behind its major trading partners in the region.

"The Government speaks to a commitment under its growth agenda to significantly improve our productivity, but the country is yet to see the fruits of this commitment," Spencer reasoned.

"If we continue to pass the IMF (International Monetary Fund) test and fail on productivity improvements, we would have merely won the battle but would have lost the war," he added.

He encouraged the Govern-ment to create more avenues for improving productivity in the country by incentivising businesses through a workplace innovation and productivity skills programme.