ILO Constituents Should Embrace Social Dialogue

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Minister of Labour and Social Security Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo??

Constituents of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) need to embrace social dialogue as a strategic measure to enhance social and economic development in their respective countries.

This suggestion came yesterday from Minister of Labour and Social Security Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, during an address to delegates at the 100th Session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

Pointing out that such discourse had many advantages, she referred to the Tripartite Caribbean Symposium held recently in Barbados.?? "This forum provided a rich exchange of the experiences of social dialogue on the part of participating countries especially Barbados, Singapore and Mauritius, Dr. Byer Suckoo explained.

The Minister also spoke about Barbados’ national agenda for social justice, explaining that this included: removing obstacles to employment; equipping the workforce with the requisite skills needed for today’s competitive market; and protecting persons and families affected by the current economic crisis. "This specific strategy is aligned with an over-arching goal for Barbados – the promotion of social equality and social justice," she added.

Dr. Byer Suckoo addressed the issues of Decent Work for Domestic Workers and the strategic objective of Social Protection.?? "Barbados wholeheartedly supports the proposed Convention and Recommendation for the effective regulation of domestic workers.?? We now make a commitment to review the Domestic Employees Act Cap. 344 of our laws to ensure that it meets the requirements of the new standard.?? Additionally, the requirements will soon be met under the Employment Rights legislation, the Minister pointed out.

Adding that social protection was a critical aspect of our country’s safety net agenda, Dr. Byer Suckoo described the National Insurance Scheme as one of the "most comprehensive systems of social security throughout the Caribbean region, with Barbados being one of the few countries of the English-speaking Caribbean with a system of unemployment insurance.

"To counter the effects of the global economic crisis, we have extended the period for unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 40 weeks to provide a buffer for those who are casualties of the shrinking job market," she said.

The Minister also reiterated Barbados’ commitment to the work of the ILO.

kmoore@barbados.gov.bb

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