KINGSTON, Jamaica — Shadow Minister of Labour and Social Security, Horace Dalley said today that the People's National Party (PNP) will join with the government in passing legislation to end the problem of “contract work” in Jamaica and offer more protection to the local workforce.
In a release from the party this afternoon, Dalley described the new wave of contract work as oppressive, exploitative and an unfair in system of employment relations.
He said this system denies workers basic rights such as vacation leave, maternity leave and sick leave.
Using the recent tragedy of Odean Wood, who died from an explosion at the JPS Rockfort Plant in April, the Opposition spokesman said too many workers are “being forced into this new category of exploitation in violation of the Labour Relations Code of 1976, which offers workers' protection through the right to representation.
Dalley said that the Opposition would be going to court to seek a declaratory judgement on the issue of contract work and to determine whether security guards are contractors or workers. This group of workers, which number approximately 27,000 – 30,000, are at a disadvantage because of their classification as contractors.
“Security guards performing their duties in thousands of locations, at all hours of the day and night, but receive no maternity leave, no pension, no time-off, no vacation leave; and, when they take an hour out of a day or take a day to attend to urgent family matters, they lose the day's pay,” Dalley said.
The PNP shadow minister said failure to address the issue would be a step backward as workers' benefits were won in the 1938 strikes, when Jamaican workers resisted the exploitative relationships at the workplace.
Dalley also highlighted that this year hundreds of contract employees who have worked for up to 30 years were due to retire without a pension benefit. This, he argued, must be described exploitation.
Source : http://m.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/PNP_labels_contract_work_as_oppressive_exploitative_and_unfair__