|Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, meeting with overseas recruiters last year. (FP)|
The National Employment Bureau (NEB) cannot be allowed to be closed, not even for a week, and especially not when recruitment for the Overseas Employment Programme is taking place.
That was the assurance from the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, yesterday as she spoke to the news media, in the wake of environmental concerns raised by NEB employees and their subsequent temporary relocation to the Warrens Office Complex.
Describing that government agency as "a small department but very crucial", she stressed that the NEB was "pivotal in sourcing quality employment for Barbadians at home and overseas.
The Minister explained that employees of the NEB would temporarily operate from the Labour Department on the 2nd Floor of the Warrens Office Complex, for the remainder of this week.??
Over the next few days, NEB’s headquarters in the Old NIS Building on Fairchild Street will undergo industrial cleaning and electrical replacements following protest action by workers. They complained about poor air and water quality affecting their office environment.
Dr. Byer Suckoo emphasised that the NEB was "very crucial to government’s programmes" and also noted that recruitment in the Canadian Farm Labour Programme, Low Skills Workers Programme and the Canadian Hospitality (Hotel) Programme was "going well."
"At the front of the queue is the Marriot Hotel, they are due [in Barbados] in a few days on a recruitment drive.?? As always, we do have a lot of Barbadians who report for that process, and by and large, we tend to impress the recruiters," the Labour Minister said.
Dr. Byer Suckoo further stated that some Canadian hotels had requested more Barbadian workers this year, but remarked that some overseas employers were facing challenges.??
"Hoteliers are required to hire Canadians first, before they could get permission from the [Canadian] authorities to hire foreigners.?? Unemployment figures have gone up here, but unemployment is higher everywhere," she pointed out, adding that, as a result, Barbados had not secured any jobs within the last year from the United States through the H2b Hotel Programme.
"Because of the unemployment situation in America, hotel authorities [there] were told, you have to hire locals first.?? Also, one of the hotels that recruited a number of Barbadians closed down because of financial difficulties," the Labour Minister explained.
Nonetheless, with NEB staff operating from the "new", temporary location in Warrens, Dr. Byer Suckoo reiterated that recruitment drives would continue.??
She advised persons desirous of conducting business with the NEB, related to its Overseas Employment Programmes, to call 310-1514 and 310-1519 for further information.??