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JAMAICA: Government to Mark 80th Anniversary of Workers’ Protests, Labour Department

#Jamaica, May 08, 2018 – Kingston – The Ministry of Labour and Social Security will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the 1938 labour protests and establishment of the Labour Department during Workers’ Week from May 14 to 23.  The week, which includes Labour Day activities, was launched at the Office of the Prime Minister on Tuesday (May 1).

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Shahine Robinson, said that Workers’ Week, under the theme ‘Preserving Our Legacy… Unfolding Progress’, is dedicated to honouring the persons who participated in and paid the ultimate sacrifice in the 1938 labour uprising.  She noted that the protests symbolised the birth of collective efforts towards better working conditions and higher wages.

She argued that “Jamaica would not be where we are today without the strong display of fortitude, resilience and devotion of these workers”.  Mrs. Robinson said that the Labour Department’s achievements will also be highlighted during the week.

“We want to include the contributions made by former Labour Ministers (as we believe) their contributions to nation building must be recognised,” she added.

Highlighting activities for the week, Mrs. Robinson informed that the Ministry will be collaborating with its partners to host public fora on several topics, including ‘The Modern Day Labour Movement’; ‘Reparations’; and ‘Productivity’.

Commemorative ceremonies will be held at the Workers’ Monument at the Waterfront, downtown Kingston, site of the 1938 riots, as well as the Workers’ Park in Westmoreland.

“These sites reflect our historical and cultural identity as a people, and, as a Government, we will continue to celebrate the legacy with a floral tribute and beautification to reflect the pride and honour… they deserve,” she pointed out.

Workers’ Week will culminate on Labour Day, Wednesday, May 23, which will be observed under the theme ‘Ramp It Up… Fix It Up’.  Activities will focus on constructing ramps in schools to enable physically challenged persons to access these buildings, and installing additional facilities at health centres to enhance the environment for medical staff and clients.  The St. Ann’s Bay Infant School in St. Ann and Cumberland Health Centre in St. Catherine are the national projects.

The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport is spearheading Labour Day activities through partnership with the Ministries of Education, Youth and Information; Health; Local Government and Community Development; and Labour and Social Security, as well as Municipal Corporations islandwide.

This year also marks the 186th anniversary since National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Samuel Sharpe, was martyred for his role in the 1831/2 Christmas rebellion, which started at the Kensington Estate in St. James and accelerated Emancipation in the British colonies.

Persons and organisations are encouraged to register their projects on the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport’s website at, and the Jamaica Information Service’s website at


Release: JIS



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