Sugar Producers Federation of Jamaica Presentation to the Wint Commission Of Enquiry July 6, 2010
What is the Sugar Producers’ Federation of Jamaica ? • The Sugar Producers’ Federation of Jamaica (SPF) is a registered trade union; • It was registered on April 1, 1971. • Registration number 106.
What is the Sugar Producers’ Federation of Jamaica ? • Background to its formation • 1939 first labour contract in the sugar industry; • 1954 the National Workers Union gained bargaining rights in the industry; • Prior to 1958, the Manager and Assistant Manager of the Sugar Manufacturers Association of Jamaica (SMA) guided individual estates in dealing with industrial relations issues as and when they arose; • 1958- Formation of the SMA’s Industrial Relations Department.
What is the Sugar Producers’ Federation of Jamaica ? • Background to its formation (cont’): -1960 West Indies Sugar Company action. • Questions surrounding SMA’s authority to conduct labour negotiations; • Decision to form an independent organization having more autonomy and powers of direction than the Industrial Relations Department of the SMA; • The Sugar Producers’ Federation of Jamaica (SPF) was registered in 1971.
Membership and Financing • Members are sugar manufacturers and those estates that have ceased to manufacture sugar but continue to grow cane; • Membership is not mandatory; • The operation of the Federation is funded by its members by way of a cess.
Objectives The rules of the Federation specify the following as some of the objectives for which it was established:- • To represent in industrial relations matters all corporations, bodies, partnerships and individuals being owners or lessees or in control of factories for the manufacture of sugar and/or spirits or of cane growers in Jamaica of not less than 1,000 acres of cane;
Objectives cont’ • To provide services in connection with Management Development, Training, Industrial Engineering, Work Study, Wage Structuring, Job Evaluation and other similar functions; • To collect and circulate commercial statistics and information of all kinds provided that the Federation shall not release any information furnished to the Federation by any member without that member’s consent; • To regulate the relations between workmen and the Federation acting on behalf of any or all of its members in their capacity as employers;
Objectives cont’ • To promote by negotiation and/or arbitration the settlement of differences and disputes between workmen and the Federation and/or any of its members; • To promote good relations generally between employers and workmen in the Jamaican sugar industry; • To consider and discuss all questions affecting the terms and conditions governing the employment of workmen.
The Functions of SPF • Labour Negotiations: • Negotiate Collective Labour Agreements; • Ensure that the estates understand both the letter and the spirit of the Agreements reached with the unions; • Monitor the implementation of the agreements.
The Functions of SPF cont’ • Dispute Resolution: • Pursue a policy which states that grievances raised by the workers should be settled at the earliest stage in the grievance procedure that it can be competently dealt with; • Disputes between the unions and the estates, which are not resolved at the estate, are referred to the Federation. At this stage role of the Federation is conciliatory; • If the dispute is not resolved it can be referred to the Ministry of Labour at which stage the role of Federation changes to that of advocate.
The Functions of SPF cont’ • Administrative: Provides services in the areas of: • Group Life Insurance • Personal Accident Insurance • Hospitalization Insurance • Pension Schemes • Scholarship Schemes
The Functions of SPF cont’ • Administrative cont’: • Organizes Inter Estates Sports Competitions • Conducts training seminars at the estates at the request of its members • Compiles and circulates the Stats Report of the Federation every two years. The next publication is due in respect of 2010.
The Way Forward • Productivity bargaining should form part of the way forward. Work needs to be done to ensure that all parties are committed to this approach. A part of the agreement between the Unions representing sugar workers and the Federation which was signed on March 20, 2006 specified that, ‘The services of the Productivity Centre will be engaged to meet by October 1, 2006 with a committee comprised of employers, unions and the SPF to determine the feasibility of introducing Productivity Schemes in the sugar industry. If the committee agrees that it is worthwhile introducing a scheme, discussions should be done as part of the 2008/2009 negotiations.’
The Way Forward cont’ • Dr. Charles Douglas, of the Jamaica Productivity Center, met with the committee and made a presentation on October 12, 2006. At a meeting of the unions and the Federation on March 16, 2007 it was decided that:- ‘In light of conditions currently pertaining in the industry, the introduction of Productivity Schemes would not be pursued at this time.’
The Way Forward cont’ 2. Ensure that the industry employs the minimum number of persons needed to effectively carry out the operations, thereby enhancing the earning potential of the employees; 3. Attract, train and retain the services of competent personnel.
Conclusion • The objectives as stated in the rules of the Federation and referred to earlier are relevant for the future and should be pursued. • The Sugar Producers’ Federation of Jamaica can and will play an important part in the future of the sugar industry dependent on the extent to which its members utilize its services.