All of the achievements Barbados has made in labour throughout the region would not have been possible without the assistance of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr. Byer Suckoo, publicly praised the work of those organisations during the inaugural session of the 20th Ministers of Labour Conference at the Hilton Barbados Resort on Thursday.
She said partnerships with the ILO, OAS, the Social Partnership and other agencies across the region had redounded to the benefit of Barbados and the region.
“It has certainly taught me a lot about the value of those partnerships. The work that we have been able to do in Barbados in recent years, certainly, would not have been possible without the technical support…the handholding…of organisations like the OAS and the ILO. In Barbados, in recent years, we have been able to do so much in the Ministry of Labour. We have produced a lot of legislation in keeping with the agenda of the ILO,” Senator Byer Suckoo pointed out.
The Labour Minister listed legislation for workers’ rights, the Employment Rights Act; the amendment of the Holidays with Pay Legislation; the Prevention of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Legislation; and Safety and Health Legislation in the workplace, as some of her Ministry’s achievements in partnership with the ILO, the OAS and local partners in the Barbados Employers’ Confederation and the trade union movement.
“Through the partnerships we have created in keeping with the agenda set by the OAS, we have been able to articulate a policy on migrant workers to ensure that their rights are protected while working here,” the Senator added.
Turning her attention to youth unemployment, the Minister said it was heartening that it was an issue of common concern for the delegates and she called for a collaborative approach to tackling it.
“We all understand that unless we collaborate to find solutions for our youth, we are actually not doing anything. We have to help the youth because all of us in this room are gainfully employed. Unless we have a generation that can take the mantle from us and continue to build our society on the gains that we have made, then it will all be lost in no time,” she cautioned.
During the event, the Minister of Labour presented the ILO’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, with a signed copy of an addendum to the official declaration signalling Barbados’ participation in the regional initiative to end the worst forms of child labour.