The Joint Industrial Council (JIC) for the Port of Kingston will celebrate its 60th anniversary on August 26, 2012.
The first and oldest of its kind in Jamaica and the Caribbean, the JIC was established on August 26, 1952, during a time of industrial unrest in the shipping industry.
Formed by four trade unions, three representing workers and the other representing employers, the mandate of the council was to maintain industrial harmony in a way that was conducive to the development of the shipping industry in Jamaica.
The Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU), the Trade Union Congress (TUC), and the United Portworkers and Seamen Union were the three unions representing workers on the port, while the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) represented employers.
Throughout its 60-year history, members of the JIC have worked assiduously to improve the working conditions at the Port of Kingston by introducing modern technology that has helped to enhance Kingston's competitiveness.
HISTORIC LABOUR AGREEMENT
Several achievements have been made by the council, including the 1966 historic labour agreement which followed the Moodie Commission of Inquiry, which was set up to investigate the causes of the strike and make recommendations to improve conditions on the port.
The agreement modernised working conditions for portworkers, provided weekly guaranteed pay, introduced A two-shift system, improved sick and vacation leave entitlements, and laid the groundwork for a new incentive scheme and the introduction of technical and mechanical improvements covering containerised cargo. This agreement provided the foundation for the now modern port.
Another notable achievement was the 1998 landmark agreement which set the groundwork for flexibility as it removed restrictive labour practices by introducing flexible work arrangements and further improved Jamaica's competitiveness in the region. More recently, in 2008, a ruling from the Industrial Disputes Tribunal further deepened this flexibility.
The many achievements of the council over the years would not have been possible without the contribution of several stalwart trade unionists: the late former prime minister, Michael Manley; the late former prime minister, Hugh Lawson Shearer; Hopeton Caven of the TUC and Alvin Sinclair of the BITU; Paul Scott; Geoffrey Collyer; Peter Evelyn; Michael Belcher (former president of the SAJ, 1994); Hylton Clarke; Alister Cooke; Michael Bernard; Alvin Henry; Roger Hinds; and Trevor Riley of the SAJ.
To celebrate this diamond anniversary, the council will host a church service on August 26 at the Kingston Parish Church starting at 10:30 a.m., while a special anniversary supplement will be published in the Sunday Outlook on the same day. A special anniversary and awards function to honour outstanding contributors to the JIC will also be held later in the week.
Throughout its 60-year history, members of the JIC have worked assiduously to improve the working conditions at the Port of Kingston...