Wed | Oct 16, 2019

J'cans to take over more jobs at Alpart - Paulwell

Published:Saturday | November 17, 2018 | 11:35 AM
The Alpart bauxite plant in Nain, St Elizabeth
Phillip Paulwell

Opposition spokesman on mining and energy Phillip Paulwell says the Chinese firm Jiuguan Iron and Steel (Group) Company (JISCO) has reiterated its commitment to make more job available to Jamaican workers over their Chinese counterparts at the Alpart plant in St Elizabeth. 

Paulwell says this came during a recent visit to the company's headquarters in the People's Republic of China along with Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips.

“The understanding was reached during negotiations in 2015 and has been progressing since. However, the commitment was restated by JISCO that priority will be given to Jamaican workers,” Paulwell said during a recent meeting of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee of Parliament (PAAC).

“JISCO re-affirmed that the Chinese workforce will be reduced as qualified Jamaicans are available,” he added.

As part of the 2015 agreement, Paulwell says several Jamaicans have been granted full scholarships to attend training programmes in China in preparation for positions at the St Elizabeth plant.

According to him, the scholarships cover areas of specialisation in alumina refinery and energy generation, among others.

Paulwell described as welcome news a report from the Special Economic Zone authority to the PAAC that, among other things, the total number of Chinese workers at the plant is now less than 100, down from an initial high of approximately 300 when the refurbishing works commenced.

The Opposition spokesman also revealed that the management of JISCO has given an assurance that the company will continue to pursue the expansion programme it envisioned in 2015.

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