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BROKEN PROMISES HEARTS &


SKU: 9789769557956

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BROKEN PROMISES HEARTS & POCKETS Orville Taylor

This book is an argument and it might even be a polemic, which traces the history of workers conflict since the Europeans eliminated the first nations who lived here and brought millions from Africa. However, the brunt of the discussion begins where the newly emerging nation, with a set of elected locals, were put in charge of the destinies of the post-slavery population, which had undergone centuries of emasculation and privation. The thesis is simple. Since workers are the real engines of development, they should be the beneficiaries. Furthermore, a population which suffered centuries of deprivation, servitude and a total denial of its humanity, must expect, indeed demand and be entitled to a concerted effort to create a wholesome world of work for them. A post-slavery government of the 1840s to the 1860s might not have had the best idea as to what were the needs of the labour force. However, even during the period of enslavement, there were clear items on the shopping list of workers rights. These requisites and needs and concomitant obligations of the rulers and national leaders gained definition across generations and by the time that the country stood on the threshold of independence, it would doubtless know what its worker class was entitled to. For most of the first few hundred years that the enslaved Jamaican workforce existed, the working classes were the main advocates for their own welfare and uplift. However, with emancipation and self rule, there was the expectation that the implicit promises would be kept. Workers rights and labour sensitive development would have evolved conceptually over the centuries into a coherent set of deliverables which any government put in place by workers should firmly implement for them. The majority of the Jamaican chief ministers, premiers and prime ministers have had some direct or indirect affiliation with the major trade unions and one can easily understand why there would be the need to create larger-than-life images of the men whose faces we spend on an ever-cheapening piece of monetary paper. History is written by the powerful and is often presented as if it is the singular achievement of a few good men and a token woman or two thrown in for good measure. Having been reviewed by the historical evidence, all the governments of Jamaica, some to a lesser extent than others, have, like Nebuchadnezzar, the Biblical king in Daniel 5: 25-27, been put in the scales and found terribly wanting (Daniel 1985, 1140). There is no exception to this, despite the myths and legends surrounding our national heroes and legendary leaders, who are retrofitted into a hyper-real image and become larger than life, especially when it is politically expedient to do so, or a red letter day or week. The two major political parties, inconveniently allied and aligned to two of the largest trade unions, have their own view of history. Similarly, employers and management practitioners will have a different perspective and might conclude that workers have historically got more than they deserve. However, it is not from an employers perspective that this book has been written. Yet, the insights gleaned should be indispensable for all parts of the system of industrial relations.

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