Industrial Relations-Labour Laws

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A detailed examination of the Jamaican Labour Laws HRNM 6015/ HR67A Industrial Relations and Negotiations (Semester II: 2013) University of the West Indies Department of Social Sciences An exploration into whose interest is served by the law and the reality of a class bias. 04-029353 Submitted as partial completion of the requirement for the Masters of Science Degree Human Resource Development at the UWI (Mona) Introduction Labour law in the Caribbean and Jamaica in particularly has traditionally been shaped by social, economic and political influences Goolsaran (2005). Over the past 100 years, its major challenge has been its response to social and political demands…show more content…
After the abolition of slavery, the resentment which former slaves felt at their exploitation and the low wages plantation managers were prepared to pay, (which were below what a family could live on), turned the former plantation workers against work in agriculture. This refusal to continue to work on the plantations became, in an industrial relations context, the first "withdrawal of labour" or strike action. Eaton (2002) purports that the industrial relations response by the state, which was coeval with the mercantile class, co-operated in defeating the workers' protest action by establishing the indentured labour system, importing workers from China and India to take the place of the freed slaves. Eaton (2002) stated that the signs were there as there was no doubt that wages were poor, employment irregular and there were crop failures. Thus the birth of the Jamaica labour movement began. Kirkaldy (1998) purports that this dates back to the year 1938 following a series of strikes in Jamaica. Nonetheless Kirkaldy contends that, “ there were, however attempts at a combination for many years prior to that date, but prior to 1919 when the Trade Union Act was passed, unions operated without the protection of the law. Trade unions in Jamaica as Eaton (2002) describes were established to include the desire of work-people to protect themselves from the vicissitudes of employment by collective
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