There is no disparity between the salaries of male and female workers across Barbados’ public sector.
Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo disclosed this finding yesterday, while speaking at the media launch of the 2016 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report, at United Nations House.
According to data trends from the report’s Human Development Index, it was recorded that on average, “women globally are paid 23 percent less than their male counterparts.”
However, based on localised research, the island’s Labour Minister revealed that this trend was not occurring in Barbados’ public sector.
“We’ve heard the figures about women being paid less than men… I must say that since I’ve heard these figures I have been looking for the evidence [locally]; and I have not been able to find it at our Statistical Service or in the Ministry of Labour….
“We have not been able to find that job for job, where all other things are equal, men and women are paid differently. We know across the Civil Service men and women at the same grade are paid the exact same amount,” she verified.
While maintaining that there was no gender-related pay difference within the “formal sector”, Senator Byer Suckoo cautioned against such a practice which might occur within the “informal sector”.
The Minister told those gathered: “If this is happening in smaller agencies which may not come under the collective agreements…then that is something that we would be very concerned about…because our legislation does not allow for this disparity of wages job for job…,” she stressed.
In supporting the development of disadvantaged groups, which were identified in the UNDP Report as women, children, victims of forced labour, impoverished persons and the disabled; the Senator called on other Ministries to remain “vigilant” and ensure that these trends did not permeate the Barbadian society.
Minister Byer Suckoo stated: “The Barbados National Employment Policy and the Human Resource Development Strategy have prioritised the empowerment of the vulnerable groups in our labour market. My Ministry is administering targeted programmes in employment and training for these vulnerable persons…
“We are also now partnering with the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development on the Strengthening Human and Social Development in Barbados Programme to eradicate poverty.”
The media launch culminated with a panel discussion featuring Minister Byer Suckoo; Stephen O’Malley, Resident Representative of the UNDP Barbados and the OECS; Sean Cooke, Representative for the Barbados National Organisation of the Disabled; and Neisha Cave, Youth Economist.