Jamaicans urged to value the nation’s workers Loop Jamaica

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Jamaicans are being encouraged to recognise the value of the country’s workers and their vital roles in shaping the nation’s past, present and future.

Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen, in a message delivered by Custos of St Thomas, Marcia Bennett, during Sunday’s National Workers’ Week thanksgiving service at Morant Bay Parish Church, said that “workers are not merely cogs in a machine, but the heartbeat of our nation.

“In every workplace, workers create value, innovate and contribute to the growth and prosperity of our nation. They are indispensable resources, and it is our duty to ensure their well-being and dignity.

“They deserve our utmost appreciation and support, especially in light of acceptance of the need for greater inclusivity and care for persons with disabilities, the elderly and the vulnerable,” he added.

Workers’ Week 2024 is being observed from May 17 to 23 under the theme, ‘Recognising Abilities; Fostering Greater Inclusion of Our Workers’.

The week culminates on Labour Day, Thursday, May 23, which is being observed under the theme, ‘Ramp Up the Access… Show that You Care’.

This year’s focus will be on the installation of infrastructure that facilitate access to buildings and other public spaces by the disabled, elderly and the most vulnerable. 

The governor-general said Workers’ Week 2024 places a “decided focus” on groups “that are not often given enough support and recognition”.

He added that, “The theme asks us to recognise, meaningfully, persons with disabilities, the elderly and the most vulnerable. As we celebrate Workers’ Week and Labour Day… let us show that we care by fostering a culture of empathy and respect in our workplaces and communities, which will urge us to ‘Ramp Up the Access… Show that We care’.”

In her remarks, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, who represented Prime Minister Andrew Holness, said Workers’ Week and Labour Day remain significant observances in the nation’s history.

“It is a time designated for every Jamaican to participate in initiatives within our respective communities, geared towards uplifting and enhancing lives,” she pointed out

She noted that the National Project will focus on improving accessibility to the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ), which “stands as our nation’s oldest cultural institution in this part of the hemisphere”.

The work to be undertaken includes installing ramps, among other features, to ensure seamless access to the vital cultural hub by all persons, including the disabled, elderly and the most vulnerable.

“However, just as we aim to improve the physical infrastructure at the institute, making it more accessible for all, we also aim to build on a culture of empathy and understanding… a culture of caring for one another,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, State Minister for Labour and Social Security, Dr Norman Dunn, who represented Portfolio Minister Pearnel Charles Jr, said this year’s themes for Workers’ Week and Labour Day “remind us that… we must create an environment where everyone can thrive”.

In elaborating, he said, “We recognise that every worker possesses unique abilities that strengthen our nation, but recognising abilities is only a part of our task. We must also foster greater inclusion, ensuring that every worker has the opportunity to contribute, free from discrimination and prejudice.”

He added that this means crafting policies that reflect the diverse needs of Jamaica’s workforce, including ensuring fair wages, safe working conditions, and equal opportunities for all.

“It means creating an environment where everyone feels welcome, valued and supported, and it means recognising that every worker’s contribution is essential to our shared prosperity,” he underscored.

Dunn said as the nation moves forward, “let us draw on the inspiration from our heroes of the past and leaders of our present, (and) work together to build a society that honours the divine in every person and recognises the unique talents of every individual.”