Chief Labour Officer (CLO), Victor Felix, is no longer at the helm of the Labour Department.
Having spent his last day on the job on December 31, 2019, Mr. Felix has proceeded on pre-retirement leave until March 8, 2020.
The outgoing CLO joined the Labour Department in 1984, as a Factory Inspector (now retitled Safety and Health Officer), and has served in various capacities.
In 2001, he became the Assistant Chief Labour Officer and acted as Deputy Chief as well as Chief from time to time, before assuming the substantive role of Deputy Chief Labour Officer in 2014. He eventually took up the role of CLO in 2016, and was appointed in this position in June 2018.
Over the years, Mr. Felix has seen and welcomed several significant legislative changes. These include the Safety and Health at Work Act, a liberalized Shops Act, the Employment Sexual Harassment (Prevention) Act, the Minimum Wages Act establishing a Wages Board, and revised Holiday With Pay provisions.
Speaking on his leadership within the Labour Department, he said much emphasis was placed on customer service, public education and sensitization, and the development of human resources.
Mr. Felix, who also had the opportunity to work collaboratively with the Impact Justice Project, said: “As a result of this engagement, employers now have freely available to them a template of a Sexual Harassment Policy document, which they can adapt and adopt.”
While pointing out that the processes of conciliation had always been central to the work of the department, the soon-to-be retiree noted that it pleased him to have the International Labour Organization (ILO) Caribbean Office provide training in this area at the national level, and “to have this conducted for all elements of the social partnership in employment”.
“Employer and employee education and sensitization programmes in Labour and Employment Relations and Occupational Safety and Health were advanced,” he said of the work of the Labour Department, which he credits for helping to build Barbados’ human resources and for maintaining a stable environment for economic activity in the country.
Satisfied that the department has a cadre of skilled officers, in Labour and Employment relations (Labour Officers) and Occupational Safety and Health (Safety and Health Officers), Mr. Felix said: “The future is in good hands as these officers can take the department forward into the third decade of the 21st century and beyond with their knowledge, skills and capabilities that can only serve to further enhance labour and the environment in which it operates.”