Youth Unemployment on ILO Agenda

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Young people globally are becoming marginalised, despondent and cynical about the future, and according to Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, this could be seen with the rise in welfare dependence, political upheaval and youth protests across the world.

She, therefore, said it was critical for countries to conduct dialogue with their youth.?? Speaking today at the 101st Session of the International Labour Conference held in Switzerland, Dr. Byer Suckoo told the attendees that the Cabinet of Barbados had approved a National Youth Policy which identified unemployed youth as a strategic area of concern.

"Because this policy was formulated after in-depth consultations with youth organisations and young people generally, we are confident that our National Youth Policy and our strategies will address the concerns of our youth," she said.

The Minister outlined that the global financial crisis had led to the loss of many jobs, particularly among the vulnerable youth.

"Youth unemployment is reported as being three, and in some cases, five times higher than adult unemployment.?? In light of this, I commend the International Labour Organisation for returning the topic of youth employment to the agenda of the International Labour Conference since last featured in 2005," she noted.

The Minister further stressed the importance of legislative protection for workers’ rights especially during a crisis.??

"Last month I piloted the Employment Rights Bill through our Parliament which was passed, guaranteeing protection from unfair dismissal. The Government of Barbados will continue to institute policies consistent with the ILO Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, providing social protection and decent work for all," she assured.

Dr. Byer Suckoo confirmed Barbados’ commitment to the ILO.?? She also extended congratulations to Director-General elect of the ILO, Guy Ryder, and thanked out-going Director-General, Juan Somavia, for his 13-year leadership of the organisation and his promotion of gender equity.

Noting Mr. Somavia was driven by the concern for social justice, peace and human rights, the Minister said the out-going Director-General was credited with the Declaration on Social Justice for the Fair Globalisation and the Global Jobs Pact.

She reasoned both initiatives were designed to meet the challenges of globalisation in the twenty-first century through the decent work agenda, while also pointing out Mr. Somavia helped to shape a vision of decent work for women and men throughout the world.

shamkoe.pile@barbados.gov.bb

Author: Shamkoe Pil??
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