The Ministry of Public Service has recommitted itself to the Davis administration’s promise to improve labour relations as it launches its Labour Relations Unit charged with strengthening communications and negotiations with trade unions.
The Labour Relations Unit was first announced last Friday 21st January, 2022 at the first strategic planning committee for several newly launched units under the public service banner. Minister of State for the Public Service, Hon. Pia Glover-Rolle, stated that improving labour relations is a major priority for the Davis administration and was at the top of the Ministry of Public Service’s agenda. She stated that both she and Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service, Hon. Fred Mitchell, were fully committed to transforming the public service and bringing it into the 21st century. She emphasized the need to improve labour relations as a key step in creating the right environment for productivity and
“In the lead up to the general election, the Progressive Liberal Party signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the unions in the country committing to harmonious labour relations, which is a principle that the party is founded on. With the rights of workers serving as our foundation, we intend to continue this legacy of harmonious labour relations as we serve in government. It is a critical step that we must get right if we want the public service to be as efficient and productive as we know it can be.”
Minister Glover-Rolle said that this new Labour Relations Unit will facilitate conversations with unions in the public service, address labour relations agreements that have been stalled in recent years, and ensure that open lines of communication are maintained.
She stated that she met with the trade unions shortly after taking office to reassure them of the government’s intention to honour its commitments and to always prioritize the rights of workers through productive communications with unions. The Unit has now been manned with a number of key players who the Minister says have the experience to assist the government in meeting its objectives.
Key members of the Labour Relations Unit include President of the National Congress of Trade Unions, Mr. Bernard Evans, who will serve as the Chief Labour Negotiator, Mr. Lester Turnquest; Senior Labour Consultant, Reverend James Palacious; Labour Relations Mediator and Ms. Cindira Bain who will serve as Labour Relations Manager.
The Unit is expected to start its work immediately as the Davis administration continues to address labour issues that began prior to the start of its term and have persisted during its first months in office. Minister Glover-Rolle stated that the Labour Relations Unit is one of several units that will drive major changes throughout the public service as the Ministry executes its 10-Point “New Day” plan for the transformation of the public service, which, along with improved labour relations, includes digitalization of ministry operations, standardized HR processes, and robust training and development opportunities, among other key initiatives.
Further details on the work and composition of the Labour Relations Unit will be released in coming weeks as the Unit begins its substantive work with trade unions throughout the country.