This was challenging from the employer’s perspective, said chief executive officer of the Jamaica Employers Federation (JEF), Brenda Cuthbert. “There were a lot of expectations that were not met because of external and internal issues.”
Cuthbert explained that, “we expected more stability in the economy and, for example, the recent foreign exchange situation meant that it was difficult to budget.” She noted that JEF training was available to not only large companies but the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector as well. “We are working on innovative ways to communicate to the SME sector all the services we have to offer that will impact their business growth. We note that employers in large companies want training for their staff in soft skills, occupational safety and inter-generational skill building to manage the changing workplace.”
She noted that the small businesses may have the same needs but don’t realise that JEF can assist them.
“We know they (SMEs) are still in struggle stage. And this is critical for us to help them move beyond this.”– Cuthbert
“We are more known for our work in industrial relations and so in 2020 we will be reaching out to the various types of employers to show them that we can help them in broader ways.”
The SME sector, Cuthbert noted was, “the great engine of growth. Yet, we know they are still in struggle stage. And this is critical for us to help them move beyond this.”
JEF is the sole trade union representing employers in Jamaica. Its membership spans the spectrum of private enterprise activities in Jamaica, from the micro enterprise to the corridors of big business and quasi-government organisations. Members are also involved in a wide variety of sectors and manage businesses which are at different levels of development – a situation that means that their priorities, as well as their demands on the JEF, vary considerably.