Wed | Aug 10, 2022

Disarray in the labour market

Published:Monday | May 16, 2022 | 12:06 AM
National Housing Trust workers striking at the intersection of Knutsford Boulevard and Oxford Road, St Andrew
National Housing Trust workers striking at the intersection of Knutsford Boulevard and Oxford Road, St Andrew


I am still trying to figure what Dr Nigel Clarke means when he says that the Government has simplified what is being described as myriads of salary and allowance packages that presently obtains in the public sector and other affiliated bodies.

I recall during a maths class in high school, my maths teacher of many years standing got vex with me because he put forward a 10-step solution to a maths question and when I got my chance, I showed him that it could be done in six steps. Yeah man, Smithy did a boil up.

Indeed, I am concerned that Dr Clarke may not be the right fit as the minister of finance as he is coming from the private sector. This is because our private sector has many issues with workers rights on many fronts. Indeed, many of our private sector companies are not warmed up to the unions and any worker or group who ever even dream of bringing union into their company better think twice.

Many companies in Jamaica have resorted to this contract worker business so that makes it easier to cast away employees that they deem unfit for some reason or the other.

Yes, many persons will respond by saying that there are robust labour laws to protect the the rank-and-file worker, but how much protection is there?

Up to a couple days ago, it was reported that many companies were not even paying over National Housing Trust (NHT) benefits accrued by their present and former employees and it is only when these people turn up at the office of the NHT, they hear that their employer did them wrong and justice seem to drag its feet in this regard. But not so when an employee is found to have stolen from an employer, though, the police are quick to come in and arrest and court proceeding fly fast and you wonder about the backlog that our courts speak of.

There is so much hypocrisy going on here. We have foreigners coming here making billions at the expense of our poor worker class.

The prime minister recently suggested that we need more foreign skilled workers and I wonder what happened to the many foreign workers who have been coming here for decades. Why was not there programmes to get them to transfer skills before they left?