My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Minister Derrick Kellier announces Historic Flexible Work Week Bill to be Tabled in Jamaican Parliament - Churches upset Government coming after their Tithes Cash-Cow

Monday, March 24, 2014

Minister Derrick Kellier announces Historic Flexible Work Week Bill to be Tabled in Jamaican Parliament - Churches upset Government coming after their Tithes Cash-Cow

“The last time the IMF was here they wanted to know when we are going to introduce Flexible Work arrangements. Jamaica has to make up its mind when we are going to join the real world,” Goodleigh said, confirming that the trade unions fully support the concept.”

President of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions, Lloyd Goodleigh commenting on the changes to aspects of the Labour Laws as it relates to FWA (Flexi-Work Arrangements)

Finally Jamaica is going forward into the 21st Century with a Modern Labour Law that reflects the Global Reality of Flexi-Work Week!

Looks like Minister of Labour and Social Security Derrick Kellier  has seen it as economically beneficial to finally implement Flexi-Work Week, flying directly in the face of the Great elephant, the Church as predicted in my blog article entitled “How to find Work in Jamaica at Call Centers - Church opposed to Modernizing Jamaica via Flexi-Work and 4G LTE to introduce Tele-commuting is really Much Ado About Nothing”.

This as the Minister of Labour and Social Security Derrick Kellier has announced the Historic Flexible Work Week Bill on Wednesday March 19th 2014  during a tour of the Caribbean Cement Company Ltd's Rockfort Plant that aims to amend our current Labour Laws and introduce Flexi-Work Week as stated in “Consultant Applauds Government's Flexi-Work Week Plans”, Published Friday March 21, 2014 1:18 pm by Monique Grange, Assistant News Editor, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The Jamaica Umbrella Groups of Church is apparently being left out in the cold as well as out of the crafting of the FWA (Flexi-Work Arrangement) that appears to be on the cusp of finally coming to light. All based on a statements that they issued as reported in “Churches angry; Slam Gov't over Flexi Week snub”, published Friday, March 21, 2014 BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer

In a few Weeks time at Budget Debates, Minister of Labour and Social Security Derrick Kellier may be set to make some major announcements about the status of Jamaica’s Labour Laws and changes to accommodate and Facilitate FWA, changes about which the Jamaica Umbrella Groups of Church was not consulted but which the Unions of Jamaica clearly support!

The Jamaica Umbrella Groups of Church is a who's who of Churches that’ve united for a common cause: to prevent the Government from Stealing their tithes:

1.      Jamaica Council of Churches
2.      Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists
3.      Jamaica Pentecostal Union (Apostolic)
4.      Jamaica Association of Full Gospel Churches
5.      Jamaica Association of Evangelicals
6.      Church of God in Jamaica
7.      Independent Churches of Jamaica

This pretty much covers every denomination that claims Christianity as its guiding principles, yet their blocking of Flexi-Work Week arrangements and thus TeleWorking in Jamaica for the past nineteen (19) is anything but Christian in character as explained in my Geezam blog article entitled “Jamaica’s 100MBps Internet Silver Lining – Tele-commuting Workplace is coming”.

This time their concerns are being veiled in the guises of protecting the right of their members to worship as opposed to having a desire to impose their largess on the Minister of Labour and Social Security Derrick Kellier, in order to prevent FWA from coming to fruition. Realistically, they are more concerned about the Government taking away money from their tithes!

The SDA (Seventh Day Adventists), for their part, are concerned about the Bill taking away their right to have a guaranteed 24 hour Sabbath, which technically begins on Friday sunset and Ends on Saturday sunset as noted in “No Sabbath, no Flexi-Week!”, published Friday, February 21, 2014, The Jamaica Observer.

According to a part of their statement, they've been left out of the process, quote: “While the Ministry Paper expressed a desire to protect and respect the Worker's rest day and/or day of worship in an environment where there is unequal bargaining power of employee to employer, largely due to the scarcity of employment, the Church is of the considered view that such right to rest and worship cannot be left to negotiation between employer and employee, but must be protected under law,”.

The Influence of the Church – Religious Dogma from our Colonial Past from a non-Tax Paying Landowner

The influence of the Church and their false concern is strange. They don’t pay Taxes on their Tithes, a huge source of Revenue or any other money collected from their Fund-Raising Activities and many of them, due to the Churches’ stance on Corruption, possibly don’t vote. 

They already enjoy waivers for items related to their Furnishings and Work being done by the Church. Aside from Politicians and the Wealthy elite such as the Azans, the Issas and the Matalons et al, they are collectively the other single largest Landowners in Jamaica, as according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Jamaica has virtually one Church per square mile.

Most of the Schools, Cemeteries, Colleges, Hospitals and even some Private Sector Companies are owned and operated by these Churches, making them a body that wields considerable financial clout akin to the above mentioned Wealthy Elite. Due to their claim of representing Christianity and the Religious beliefs founded on the Birth, Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, they claim also the right to the Divine and thus Command reverence from even Politicians and the Wealthy Elite.

To this end they claim to also represent the Spiritual Needs of the People of Jamaica and in matters of Spirituality, they act as their Voice, claiming that they are Vox populi, Vox Dei (The Voice of the People is the Voice of God). But they’re withheld their voice in commenting on the many Social Ills, choosing merely to have long Sermons and Homilies and counteract the scourge of Crime with Prayer instead of Action.

Hence their claims to protecting the following by demanding the following changes to the FWA recommendations tabled back in June 2013:

1.      Right of the Worker to choose a day of rest
2.      Right of the Worker to choose and designate the 24-hour period constituting his/her day of worship
3.      Right to void contracts that deny a Worker this right
4.      Protection against discrimination in employment for exercising this right
5.      A six-month public-education programme by the Government before the Bill is tabled in Parliament

So it seems a tad strange that when something affects their purse strings, they should choose to comment. We’ve long had Flex-Work Week arrangements ongoing in many of the Call Centers throught Jamaica, so why haven’t they taken them to task? Or is it a case that the Church, as we Jamaicans would say “Ongle have Strength fe Politicians and naah badda wid white People sin’ting”, being as many of these Call Centers are owned and operated by Expatriates and Americans companies, among whom Religious Dogma is referred to as “being Spiritual”?

I suspect it could be just that, as albeit many Jamaicans grew up in the Church and claim to be Christians or believers in God at the very least, few really support the Church, as really and truly only the Pastors and his Children Benefit. So, knowing this and other personal tidbits about most of these older generation Politicians, it may be a case of the Church using its considerable heft to glibly badger the Ministers of Government, many of whom may be Church goers themselves.

By having the Politicians in their midst, this gives the Leaders of these Various Churches under their Jamaica Umbrella Groups of Church considerable psychological leverage over the Politicians. Knowing this, the Politicians, who are very much aware of the Spiritual and argumentative, almost bullying nature of the Church and its stance on certain contentious issues such a Gambling on Sundays, apparently have no choice but to exclude them from discussions on FWA.

The Church’s position on Flexi-Work Week is untenable and unchanged over the past 19 years; it cannot be the case that an entire country’s future is being held back by a Religious few hell-bent on holding on to their Tax Free Revenue from Tithes as well as not having to pay taxes on their Property, Land as well as Importation Taxes, many of which they’ve been granted rather handsome waivers.

This is the “spanner in the Works” referred to in the article; clever suasion by the Church over the years has allowed them to use the guilty consciences of the Politicians to psychologically bully them so as to get their way as it relates to having Jamaican Law Bend in the Churches’ Interest.

The Church, therefore, is an elephant akin to the Media, who are often referred to as the Fourth Estate. But as they claim the Divine as their guide and not the All Seeing Eye of the Journalist, their spiritual Influence is stronger.

This is oweing to the fact that the lives of many Jamaicans, including the very same Politicians, have been touched by the Church, whether they went to Church-funded School, Church-sponsored Event, Worked with a Church funded Business or even Received a Scholarship or Recommendations for Work from a Minister of Religion.

Derrick Kellier’s Dilemma – If FWA becomes enshrined in Labour Laws, He’ll have to stop going to Church

While the Church uses their considerable financial and sway over the Spirituality of the Nation to Psychologically bully the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) to do as they bid, the Government has to answer to yet another set of Freemasons, this time in the form of the Enlightened IMF (International Monetary Fund).

Having just recently passed their Third IMF Test and are thus eligible for more IMF Multi-Lateral Support, they are also being pressured by the IMF to implement Flexi-Work Week, as it’ll make it easier to attract FDI (Foreign Direct Investors) to the island knowing that the Workforce are not only skilled an capable, but are willing to forego tradition and Work on traditionally Religious Sabbaths and Sundays and take their Days-Off at any time convenient to the company, which may be in the Week.

1.      Work from Home i.e. Tele-Working, thus more time for your family
2.      Tele-Working would be possible, with companies having Virtual Offices of Staff located all over Jamaica
3.      Reducing the need to have a permanent Office and thus renting Office spaces when needed
4.      Reduces transportation costs associated with travelling to Work
5.      Reduce Travelling allowance for Employer paying for you to travel to Work

Telecommuting would create Virtual Offices of Workers who could do Work from Home with their Computer that doesn’t require travelling to Works, benefitting Pregnant women who want to have a family and hold down a job. To the Government of Jamaica, this is a political Gold mine, as this would be the “jobs, jobs, jobs” they been trumpeting all along. Suddenly, overnight, the Church became easy to ignore and dispose of.

With Flexi-Work Week, there lies the potential to not only get more hours out of the day and create more gainful employment for out-of-work Jamaicans, but potentially it could see the ruling party back into the Seat of Power if it works!

Telecommuting Job have the same advantages that would be empowered by our Labour Laws including Flexi-Work Week arrangements, thereby modernizing our archaic Labour laws that don’t even permit Women to Work overtime. These are the same advantages echoed in more detail in my blog article entitled “Crowdsourced, TeleWorking Flex-Work Publishers needed for UWI and High School Students with Tablets in 2014 - How Jamaican Writers can make money via ePub Publishing Book”.

But most importantly, Flexi-Work Week will be needed if Jamaica is to have a Manufacturing based Economy. This as Jamaican Labour needs to be Flexible in terms of our Working hours so as engage in the mega projects that will empower our Manufacturing Ambitions.

Example of such projects include the construction of the two (2) LNG Power Plants, one in Bogue, St. James and Bull Bay, St. Thomas by EWI (Energy World International) to provide Cheaper Electricity as noted in my blog article entitled “EWI Plant to have 2 LNG Plants - LNG Plant Banana Split between St. James and St. Thomas may mean LNG Fuel coming for Large companies and Auto LPG for JUTC to reduce fuel costs”.

Another is the building of the Logistics Hub, a topic about which I’ve yet to write on as I’ve seen a lot of heated arguments but little light or substance about which I could create even the skeleton of a Proper Argument. I’m not even sure if this Logistics Hub is just a Port Expansion or an islandwide push to have Multi-Modal Port Facilities that would enable Jamaica to handle more Cargo from the Panama Canal coming from China.

What I do know is that we’re way behind the 2017 Targeted opening of the widened Panama Canal. To catch in the construction of whatever we’re going to commit to building wherever, be it Goat Islands or elsewhere, will require Labour Laws to would make it easier to have a Workforce that can Work around the clock.

This, combined with a revitalization of our Transportation Facilities in Jamaica would not only breathe life into the Logistics Hub but maintain it after the Expatriates are gone on the same 24 hour/7 week/365 day basis as is required by International Standards that other Logistics Hubs operate worldwide.

For that and other ambitions to lift Jamaica out of our post-Recession Economic Doldrums, a new kind of Labour Law is needed, one that has aspects of Flex-Work Week infused, enabling Work to continue legally even when the Religious few take a break to observer their Religious obligations.

Flex-Work Week isn’t the death of Religious observation. Rather, it’s merely the empowering of a nation to do more with its time, whether it is in the Day, Night or on the Weekends! And while he’s at it, I hope he can also get the Churches to pay Taxes as well, specifically from their Tithes, Property, Land as well as Importation Taxes!

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