JM | Dec 8, 2020

Labour market task force to take global approach in probing impact of COVID-19

/ Our Today

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Karl Samuda, minister of labour and social security. (Photo: JIS)

The government has responded to calls from employers and employees to address issues affecting the labour market in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Karl Samuda, minister of labour and social security, has assembled a team of experts in a task force to address the issue. 

Addressing the group at its first meeting on Monday, Samuda outlined the scope of work and said he expected to receive their first report by the end of February 2021.

The task force is to examine the labour market implications and provide legislative and or policy recommendations to the Labour Advisory Council (LAC) chaired by Samuda, and provide recommendations to address the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Professor Neville Ying, chairman of the labour market task force, which is to submit a report by February 2021. (Photo:

In the meantime, Professor Neville Ying, chairman of the task force, said it must contextualise its objectives in light of the impact of COVID-19 globally and on Jamaica, including critical areas such as business closures and job losses.

Ying told members of the task force that thousands of job positions have been made redundant  since the arrival of COVID-19 and that Jamaica’s economy is projected to decline by 11 per cent even as  the flow of remittances remains steady.


In outlining the framework for the work to be done by the task force, Ying said the tenets of the International Labour Organization (ILO) must guide its deliberations.

He said it must be evidence and rules-based and maximise the power and value of social dialogue.

The ILO tools of Core Labour Standards, Decent Work Agenda and Conventions and Recommendations will also be utilised as important points of reference.

Ying said in addition to the global approach of the task force, it would also focus on job creation and employment, synchronised financing by international development institutions for developing countries and major strategies for job creation and employment viz-a-viz infrastructure development such as urgent attention to the network of roads damaged during the recent rains associated with hurricanes.

Digital infrastructure for Internet access in all communities across Jamaica, will also be examined.

Work from home

The task force will highlight the importance of the future work place that will be technology driven, with primarily digital and home-based work. This will require urgent changes in the roles of tripartite members (employer, trade unions and government).

READ: Everyone has a home office now. So who is paying for it?

The future workplace will also require key competencies for employees and employers and a new concept and practice of life-long learning.

The task force, which is a sub-set of the Labour Advisory Council (LAC), is comprised of:

  • Professor Neville Ying (Chairman)
  • Granville Valentine (NWU)
  • Clifton Grant (UAWU)
  • David Wan (JEF)
  • Cheryl Price (JEF)
  • Wayne Chen (Caribbean Employers Federation)
  • Deidra Coy (Planning Institute of Jamaica)
  • Donavon Wignall (MSME) and Donna Evelyn (Jamaica Council of Churches)


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