NIA calls for fairness in recruitment of workers for cruise industry
Anti-corruption watchdog National Integrity Action (NIA) is calling for the Ministry of Tourism to ensure that equity, fairness and non-discrimination guide the plan to recruit 10,000 Jamaican workers for the global cruise ship industry.
The organisation says steps must be taken to ensure that partisan politics does not contaminate the process.
“I am well aware that the cruise line operators themselves set their criteria and do the recruitment.
“But you as Minister and we Jamaicans can and do make recommendations that often involve our Ministry of Labour and seek to ensure the principle of non-discrimination in our Constitution is observed,” NIA principal director Professor Trevor Munroe wrote in a letter dated June 13 to Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett.
The organisation is arguing that the pool of stakeholders who will have a hand in the recruitment should be expanded.
“It is understandable that you have asked all MP's [Members of Parliament] on the south coast (the non-tourism belt) to assist in recommending persons…however, I would urge that you invite the parish ministers' fraternal and the parish associations of JPs [Justices of the Peace] on the south coast to also recommend persons to the cruise operator recruiters.
“Such an invitation and engagement would introduce a non-political, non-governmental, civil society component to a recruitment process which, regrettably, in Jamaica has been too often monopolised by politics.”
It was disclosed that the global cruise industry is in need of 90,000 workers.
Bartlett had indicated that the demand stems from a shortage of workers occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic's disruption of tourism activities worldwide, which has resulted in a reduction in the number of persons employed in the sector.
He gave the assurance, however, that the ministry and stakeholder partners would be diligent in ensuring that the process of identifying and recruiting potential employees “does not disturb our [local] hospitality sector, which is so key”.
As such, Bartlett said focus would be placed on areas “where we don't have the strength of the hotels”, among other related offerings, and which would have suitable persons readily available to take up available job openings.
He was speaking during a ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston for the presentation of Disaster Risk Management Tools for tourism and allied industry stakeholders on June 10.
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