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The UWI Open Campus Hails the Late Trade Union Scholar, Professor George Eaton

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Office of the Principal, Jamaica, January 27, 2017: The University of the West Indies, Open Campus regrets the passing of Professor George E. Eaton, Caribbean scholar and public servant.  Professor Eaton, at the time of his death, was the Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Education Institute: Consortium for Social Development and Research, UWI, Open Campus, and Professor Emeritus of Economics and Political Science and Senior Scholar at York University, Toronto, Canada.

Professor Eaton, who was born in Jamaica in 1936, distinguished himself as a regional scholar and was a foremost authority on Industrial Relations in the Commonwealth Caribbean.  His published doctoral thesis from McGill University entitled: “The development of trade unionism in Jamaica, W.I.” traced the early beginnings of Jamaica’s trade unions and political association located in the context of the decolonization movement.

In 1961, Eaton was appointed Research Fellow and lecturer at the Faculty of Economics at The University of the West Indies, after completing a stint as senior public administration adviser with the United Nations.  He was one of the pioneers in the establishment of the Trade Union Education Institute (TUEI) along with Hugh Shearer, Michael Manley, Hopeton Caven and Hector Wynter in 1963.  He worked tirelessly over the years to build labour education in the region and to create an environment conducive to good industrial relations practices.

During the 1970s he served as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Public Service and in 1996 chaired the Labour Market Reform Committee, which produced a blue-print for reforming the labour market in Jamaica in what become popularly known as the ‘Eaton Report’.

Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the Open Campus, Dr. Luz Longsworth, in paying tribute to Professor Eaton, noted that in later years he turned his attention to “pension fund assets which he saw as an important form of savings where workers have little control over the governance of these funds, and urged trade unions to adopt new strategies and approaches to ensure the economic interests of employees are fully protected and workers’ best interests can be preserved and guaranteed.”

Professor Eaton has a number of published works including, ‘Alexander Bustamante and Modern Jamaica’ (1995), and ‘The Trade Union Education Institute and Rex Nettleford’s Philosophical Orientation’ (2011).

The University Community, and in particular the Open Campus, pays tribute to the life and work of Professor Eaton and extend condolences to his wife, Kathleen, children, grand-children and other relatives.


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, The UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. The UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. For more information, visit

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)


Photo Caption: The late Professor George Eaton addresses participants at the 2010 Rex Nettleford Symposium held by the Open Campus’s Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Education Institute (HLSTUEI) on April 7, 2010 at the Mona Visitor’s Lodge.