Trade unions are organizations that represent people at work. Their purpose is
to protect and improve people's pay and conditions of employment. They also campaign for laws
and policies which will benefit working people.
Trade unions exist because an individual worker has very little power to
influence decisions that are made about his or her job. By joining together with other
workers, there is more chance of having a voice and influence.
Jamaican Constitution Chapter 3, section 13 provides for the freedom of
association and section 23 provides for the freedom of assembly and association. Whereas
these sections do not expressly refer to the trade union movement it protects the rights of
Trade Unions in Jamaica have a strong political history. The two major political
parties, namely the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the National Party (PNP), are historically
affiliated with the two largest trade unions, namely Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU)
and the National Workers Union (NWU) respectively.
The Government of Jamaica is widely considered as being pro-worker, and has
implemented various conventions promoted by the International Labour Organization (ILO). The
Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) founded in 1980 is a national trade union centre
in the country and is affiliated with the International Trade Union Confederation.
Jamaica Trade Union was created to provide online information about the union
movements and labour laws of Jamaica.
A continuous association made up primarily of wage earners who use their
collective labour power to seek improved wages and working conditions for their