ILO Director-General Guy Ryder and Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan, chatting at yesterday’s opening ceremony of the 11th ILO Meeting of Caribbean Labour Ministers at Accra Beach Hotel and Spa. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Barbados has come in for praise for its work with the International Labour Office (ILO) over the years.

The plaudits came on Tuesday as ILO’s Director-General, Guy Ryder, announced 2019 as “a special year for the ILO and for its relationship with the Caribbean” during the opening ceremony of the 11th ILO Meeting of Caribbean Ministers of Labour at Accra Beach Hotel and Spa.

Commending Barbados for hosting the event, Mr. Ryder noted that this year would mark the 100th anniversary of the ILO, and also the 50th anniversary of the ILO’s Caribbean office in Port-of-Spain.

Acknowledging that the biennial ministerial meeting, convened since 2003, was an important date in the ILO’s calendar, and an equally important instrument for the strengthening and consolidation of cooperation, he added: “I am convinced of the significant role, both of the ILO in the Caribbean sub region and the Caribbean in the ILO, where it is today most ably represented in our governing body by the Government of Barbados, and in the workers’ and employers’ groups as well.  I must say that today’s representation follows in the path of Barbadian greats who have truly marked the 100-year history of the ILO.”

Reminiscing on the role Barbados played in aiding his early development in the ILO, the Director-General stressed: “I received a good part of my training and education from Sir Frank Walcott, a number of years ago.  I got my education from him, but I got my instruction from Sir Roy Trotman for many years.

“It was a different but equally valuable experience and I think we should remember as well other great Barbadians who graced our Committee of Experts – Sir Grantley Adams, himself, and Sir William Douglas, who I also had the pleasure of working with.  So, today’s representatives are truly standing on the shoulders of the giants of the past.”

Director-General of the International Labour Organization, Guy Ryder, addressing the 11th ILO Meeting of Caribbean Labour Ministers at Accra Beach Hotel and Spa yesterday. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Mr. Ryder also underscored the importance of social dialogue to the ILO and its Caribbean members, highlighting Barbados’ own understanding of this.  

He said the notion of social partnership, the collective representation of interest by employers and workers, and their interaction with government in processes of partnership, was fundamental.

“The ILO’s global commission says that these partnerships and this representation of interest should be considered as a public good,” he stressed.

“Something which is good not just for the worker or the employer, but good for the cohesion and good for the welfare of society as a whole.  And, we believe and we take inspiration from the example of Barbados, that these notions of partnership need to be promoted as a matter of public policy around the world, and that we will all be better off as a result of so doing,” he stated.

The May 14 to 15 meeting was held under the theme: Shaping A Brighter Future of Work For The Caribbean.

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