PRESIDENT of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU), Senator Kavan Gayle, says his union has no option but to prepare its members for the challenges and opportunities associated with an emerging “new world of work”.
“All trade unions, and the entire labour movement, must join with a common cause to be ready for this new modality encapsulated by a new world of work,” he told delegates and guests attending the BITU's Triennial General Assembly at the Douglas Orane Auditorium at the Wolmer's High School for Boys on Saturday.
Senator Gayle described the emerging world of work as one involving mergers, acquisitions and changes that are rapidly executed without reasonable consultation and/or explanation.
He said that it is not confined to any specific geographic location, but is modelled after the hub which can be changed at the “drop of a hat”.
“It embraces forms of employment which do not lend to the concept of permanency, preferring instead 'fixed-term contracts' or possibilities of 'outsourcing', and it presents targets which cannot easily be met, but must be met regardless of what it takes,” he said.
“It is neither tribalistic nor nationalistic and concerns for workers and their fundamental rights are of scant regard. It is not committed to development, outside of its own development, and is not committed to growth outside of its own growth. It masquerades under various guises, such as 'centres of excellence', where working conditions are tantamount to that of modern-day free zones,” Senator Gayle said.
“It does not provide for critical social support, like health insurance, pensions and similar benefits. The name of the game is increase profits at all costs, and it resists collective representation, he said.
Senator Gayle said that, as a responsible representative of workers in Jamaica, the unions had no option, than to prepare their members for the challenges and opportunities associated with this new world of work.
“We must be ready to be innovative, creative and forward thinking in the way we fight for workers, to ensure that they continue to get a fair share and just reward for their labour,” he added.
“Let this conference understand, that this union, while remaining committed to our values, is part of a vibrant global union movement which strives for the same objectives, our same ideals, and this global movement is totally prepared for the new world of work,” Senator Gayle said.