Jamaica Employers' Federation (JEF) wary of People's National Party (PNP)
Jacqueline Coke-Lloyd, executive director of the Jamaica Employers' Federation. - File
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner: Monday | August 13, 2007
Dionne Rose, Staff Reporter
The Jamaica Employers' Federation (JEF) is wary of promises made by the People's National Party (PNP) to implement a flexi workweek and to introduce a comprehensive occupational safety and health act.
The party made the promises in its 2007 manifesto, which was launched last Thursday.
But Jacqueline Coke-Lloyd, executive director of the JEF, said these issues have been on the table for a very long time.
"I would want to see execution because most of these things have been on the table for more than 10 years (and) the employers have not seen any change," she said. "We don't have labour advisory committee meetings. These things can only be executed if there are meetings and there is a plan of action, " she pointed out. While supporting the PNP proposals, Vincent Morrison, president of the National Workers' Union (NWU), agreed that these are things that have been talked about for a while.
"What we need to do is to get them out of the way," he said. "Our position is very simple. There is no need to legislate flexi-time and I think that we had agreement with employers on this position."
Mr. Morrison said a comprehensive decent work agenda, evident in the PNP manifesto, is needed.
"Legislation has been in the draft (stage) for a long time with respect to health and safety issues," he said. "The bauxite and aluminium companies seem to be at the cutting edge in terms of health and safety issues, so we need to bring the other companies up to that level and perhaps even better."
The PNP also has promised to strengthen the mechanism for dialogue and consultation among the social partners. The party said it would establish a stronger link between labour-market reform and the transformation of the educational system. The manifesto also noted that there have been successes in focusing and creating an enabling environment for a sophisticated Jamaican labour market to function effectively.
This, the PNP said, it has accomplished through the establishment of the Productivity Centre, which has facilitated enterprises in re-engineering their business processes and measuring their productivity and level of competitiveness.