Perspective: Industrial War Crime

May 15, 2022 | By Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie | Illegal strike threatens PM Holness authority to govern?

Information Minister Hon. Robert Nesta Morgan points finger at the Opposition People’s National Party. The PNP deny this allegation. Reports are that a screenshot of a Whatsapp message by alleged PNP operatives to cause discontent with the sinister objective of bring down the Holness led JLP administration.

Opposition Leader Hon. Mark Golding has blamed the Holness administration for not effectively communicating with the workers hence the widespread industrial unrest.

The Jamaican economy was dealt a devastating blow when an estimated 2,000 water sector workers without warning and disregarding established grievance procedures, decided to take the law into their hands and withdraw their services on May 10, 2022.

Prominent defense attorney Gavin Goffe said in a tweet on Twitter: He wrote inter alia:

“The conduct of the National Water Commission workers is indefensible. Their conduct is tantamount to an industrial war crime.”

Goffe was not mincing words as he issued via Twitter his rebuke for the sudden industrial action taken by the striking water workers without notice.

The noted attorney was reacting to the estimated 2000 employees of the essential service walking of the job and padlocking the gates of the Marescaux Road plant. The two day illegally called strike virtually brought the society to a standstill. Schools, small business entities, private citizens and even the courts were affected by the industrial action. Under the Industrial Disputes Act an Essential Service, for which this water utility is one, cannot strike without giving the required 72 hours notice as stipulated by law. This was not given. The strike was illegal.

Union Leadership

It is believed that the unions, the government and top management of the Commission were all blindsided by the rather secretive Nicodemus type strike action.


It is unfortunate that as the economy has begun to return to some semblance of normalcy that these illegal Strikes have been mysteriously occuring. Unemployment is at a record low of 6.2 percent. The lowest in the history of our country. In fact we are faced with the daunting prospect of having to import workers for the construction sector.

New Hotel Rooms

8000 New Hotel Rooms are to be built soon. We need skilled artisans. Should we cut the Civil Service and train labourers? There is need to proceed with this development. What is your view?

Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is a poet, elegist, author, and senior international journalist who writes for Vision newspaper.

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