Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo addressing the media about the??integrity??of the Barbados Statistical Survey’s results on the drop in the unemployment rate. (A.Miller/BGIS)??

The Safety and Health at Work (SHaW) Act and other pieces of legislation help to increase safe and productive workplaces.??

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, made this assertion during the SHaW Act Sensitisation Day which was held last Friday in Heroes Square.

Pointing out that 2012 was a significant one for labour legislation, Dr. Byer Suckoo emphasised, "The workplace has to be safe and protective, and this speaks to productivity and the wellbeing of our workers… because it is just not enough for people to have jobs…"

Adding that her Ministry had been looking at ways to increase employment, she stressed it also focused on increasing productivity as well as developing a skilled, efficient and competitive workforce.

"Workers spend the better part of their day at work, so we want to know that they are protected not only physically, through the Safety and Health at Work Act, but also, that there is a safe and conducive atmosphere in terms of discrimination and harassment… because if those things are not taken care of, then we are looking at an increase in stress, psychological disorders, psychiatric issues and other things that affect productivity simply because persons in the workplace are not comfortable," the Labour Ministered underscored.

Stating that the SHaW Act was passed in 2005 and would be proclaimed by January 1, 2013; Dr. Byer Suckoo explained that work was also being done on other critical pieces of labour legislation.

"This year, we were also able to pass in both houses the Employment Rights Act, another bit of legislation that was hanging around for decades, so a draft proclamation order is being prepared [and] soon we will be able to proclaim the Employment Rights Act," she said, adding that the increase of the minimum wage also contributed to increase productivity.??

Further noting that the Anti-Discrimination legislation was also being worked on, she announced that there was now a draft for the Sexual Harassment legislation.??

Dr. Byer Suckoo explained: "We want to know that jobs are fulfilling the workers’ purpose and needs.?? We also want to know as a country, that the way those jobs are performed, is such that it allows Barbados to continue to develop, to keep up with the pace of what is happening around the world and allow us to be competitive and productive."


Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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