Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Assistant Secretary of Community Development, Enterprise Development and Labour Shomari Hector has challenged employees to confront the issue of low productivity.
Addressing employers and employees at a Decent Work seminar hosted by the Labour Department in the Division last Friday at its Conference Hall at Glen Road, Scarborough, Hector said one of the pillars of high productivity in the workplace is a culture of learning in the workplace.
“Today, I am happy to say that seminars such as this are geared towards increasing workplace productivity, yielding higher productivity and increased productivity would assist businesses to compete with other companies, innovate and keep operational cost at an all-time low."
Hector noted however that working harder is not the only means of increasing productivity.
"Productivity goals may be achieved through technological improvements, greater labour efficiencies and overall managerial control,” he said.
Hector made reference to a recent statement by historian Dr Rita Pemberton that Tobago’s thrust toward greater autonomy would be hampered by poor work ethic and slow productivity.
“We are all familiar with it... Some of us had negative outcries calling her unpatriotic, saying that she was not representative of the ideal Tobagonian behaviour and the likes. But even in the THA, we have to confront this basis and hurtful truth and encourage persons to begin to lend themselves towards the construction of a future of which they themselves can be proud, and that future certainly speaks to engendering a certain kind of consciousness and a certain kind of behaviour in respect of their present day engagement in their family spaces, in their work places, in their places of play.”
The eight-hour seminar promoted a decent work agenda while focusing on productivity and managing absenteeism. The Department of Labour’s main goal, according to Elon Mayo, the Research and Planning Officer at the department, is the creation of a stable industrial relations environment and a productive and engaged workforce.
Mayo said, “This goal can subsequently foster a calm environment...Productivity is essentially the efficiency in which an organisation or an economy can transform resources into goods, potentially creating more from less. Employee absenteeism is the intentional or habitual absence from work...Employers expect their employees to miss a certain number of workdays each year but excessive absence can equate to decrease productivity and can have a major effect on organisations finances, morals and other factors.”
Through this seminar, there are a number of objectives that the Department of Labour is attempting to accomplish. Some of these are showcasing productivity as a key to prosperity; demonstrating that managing absenteeism increases productivity, which leads to economic growth and social progress; improving productivity and to show its importance for Tobago because it can minimise poverty and unemployment.