|Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo|
The rights of workers who participate in the Canada-Commonwealth Caribbean Seasonal Agricultural Worker Programme, commonly referred to as the Canadian Farm Labour Programme, must be given top priority even as employers face challenging economic times.
This call has come from Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, as she addressed representatives of the Canadian government and agricultural employers at the Annual Inter-governmental Review Meeting of the Canada- Commonwealth Caribbean Seasonal Agricultural Worker Programme, currently taking place in Canada.
"Workers’ rights and respect for human dignity must be given top priority even while you look for ways to reduce production costs and improve efficiency," the Labour Minister said, adding these rights should also be the basis for discussions at the review meeting.
She emphasised the value of the programme to Barbados and the Caribbean, explaining that it contributed not only to individual development but to the social and economic development of participating countries.
Dr. Byer Suckoo pointed out that Barbados had been involved in the initiative for approximately 44 years, and pledged that Barbados would continue to select and train Barbadian workers to not only give of their best but also to be ambassadors of the island in Canada.
She noted that Canadian employers faced a number of challenges this year such as a decreased demand for their products and harsh weather conditions.??
In recognising those problems, the Labour Minister underscored that regardless of the challenges, workers’ rights and the conditions of their work should meet the standards of the Decent Work Agenda, established through the International Labour Organisation and other conventions.
Dr. Byer Suckoo joined other regional ministers in Canada to review the 2011 Farm Labour Season.?? They also examined the terms and conditions for the next year.??