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                                          P.S., Carston Simmons addressing delegates at the closing ceremony of the Caribbean Employers forum at the Hilton Hotel recently.


After three days of intense deliberations, the Tripartite Caribbean Labour Forum concluded on Thursday with stakeholders agreeing to advance the concept of “Decent Work” in their national agendas.

Speaking during the closing ceremony at the Barbados Hilton Hotel, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and the Civil Service Carston Simmons echoed these sentiments, insisting that “Decent Work” must become entrenched in nation policy; an integral part of the employment strategy and psyche of the Caribbean.

While acknowledging that implementing some elements of the “Decent Work Country Programme” may require technical assistance from the International Labour Organisation and other related bodies, he believes that regional governments can lead the way by adopting some of the strategies to promote sound labour practice.

“Necessary political will and commitment must be galvanised. The support of the other social partners and the key resources required must be provided for the priority programmes… It is my hope that the Barbados forum will be the impetus for concrete action and that the necessary will, commitment and self determination is forthcoming to ensure the outputs…are introduced.”

Under the ‘Decent Work Country Programmes”, the ILO and tripartite constituents will work with stakeholders to integrate the objectives of full and productive employment, poverty alleviation and decent work in policy dialogue and programmes at the national level.

In addition, the gathering of government officials, labour representatives and private enterprise reaffirmed their support to the four main objectives of the “Decent Work Agenda”, that is, promoting and realising standards, fundamental principles and rights at work; creating greater opportunities for women and men to secure decent employment and incomes; enhancing the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all and strengthening tripartism and social dialogue.

The three-day meeting covered such themes as employment and labour market policies in a context of regional integration, trade adjustment and economic restructuring; providing decent employment for women and men; managing migration; the development of a vibrant small enterprise sector; and extending social protection to workers in the informal economy.

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