Jamaica’s Opposition Party Leader Calls For Contract Workers To Get Benefits

Dr. Peter Phillips, the People’s National Party led Opposition Leader in making his contribution to the Budget Debate recently stated that a PNP government under his watch will end contract employment as it seeks to create a more equitable society.

Dr. Phillips said contract employment denies workers the rights and benefits won for them by the trade union movement.

He pointed to jobs in the government service, like hospital ancillary workers and porters, as well as in the security sector, tourism and manufacturing as areas where contract work is fast replacing permanent jobs.

“Contract workers don’t have no (sic) vacation leave so they can’t afford to rest. Contract workers don’t have sick leave so they can’t afford to get sick. Contract workers have no stipulated working hours so they cannot afford to take a lunch break. They have neither collective bargaining rights, nor do they have the protection against wrongful dismissals so they cannot afford an opinion. They will have no pension when they retire. Yet, in every other respect they are expected to be as productive and as invested in the work as another full-time employee,” Dr. Phillips argued.

He also implored the government to act on a Labor Market Reform Commission report released two years ago.

“I believe we should put it immediately to a select committee. Let us consider it; let’s see what we can do. Just don’t leave it there, people suffering now,” he asserted.

Carol Maye, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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