JAMAICA | Opposition concerned over rights of contract workers

Opposition spokesman of Labour and Social Security, Senator, Dr. Floyd Green

KINGSTON, Jamaica May 23, 2021 Opposition Spokesman on Labour and Social Security Senator Dr Floyd Morris has again raised the vexing practice of many employers, placing Jamaican workers on contract, which in most cases denies workers earned employment benefits.

In his Labour Day message Senator Morris saluted the workers of Jamaica for their commitment, resilience and patriotism, pointing out that “Jamaica’s labour force is among the most hardworking in the world, and I am proud to celebrate our labour force this Labour Day 2021.”

He said “these citizens have kept the wheels of our country moving as we have all collectively had to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic hardship, curtailed movement and the digital divide.”

Senator Floyd Morris continued to say, “Whilst we have made significant gains in guaranteeing rights for workers since the 1930s, more work needs to be done to protect those rights and the dignity of workers especially as the workplace evolves.

“The practice of using contract workers, which in most cases denies workers employment benefits, is a matter of major concern to the Opposition,” he said, and  “in our next administration, the PNP will implement legislation to better safeguard the rights and benefits of contract workers and regulate the practice.”

Senator Dr Floyd Morris has taken note of the varied challenges being experienced by workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as it relates to working from home. “Many workers have had to work from home due to the Disaster Risk Management (DRM) orders.

This has come at tremendous cost to workers amid an increase in overall life expenses. For example, the Government has opted to adjust the rates for the National Insurance and increase the insurable wage ceiling from $1.5 million to $3 million, at a time when inflation is at over 6%. Situations like this one are placing workers at a disadvantage and certainly do not constitute the promised ‘prosperity’.”

Senator Morris is encouraging the Government, in light of Labour Day celebrations, to consider strengthening compliance to contribute to the NIS which would yield some financial return and ease the pressures on Jamaican workers at this time.

The opposition spokesman on Labour is encouraging workers to continue to be committed, resilient and hardworking. He opines: “One way of demonstrating this continued commitment, resilience and hard work; is by “putting some work in Labour Day” as directed by the Most Hon. Michael Manley in the 1970s.”

Labour Day, says Senator Morris, is another means by which we recognize our workers and the Opposition wishes to salute all workers on this day.

“As stated at our most recent public consultation held by the Opposition Task Force on Labour and Social Security, we are committed to enacting legislation and programmes that will empower and transform the lives of workers in the Jamaican labour market in a future PNP administration led by Mr. Mark Golding,” he concluded.

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