Barbadian employers are being urged to return to the process of engaging in dialogue and consultation with employees and union representatives before making significant changes in their organisations.

This advice came today from Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, as she spoke at the International Labour Organization (ILO) – European Union Programme for Caribbean Employers??? Confederation and the Caribbean Congress of Labour National Bipartite Meeting.

The meeting, which was held at the National Union of Public Workers, Dalkeith, St. Michael, is part of a series of workshops which seeks to build the capacity of Caribbean employers??? organisations, so that they can make substantial contributions to regional development.

While the Labour Minister lamented that employers, including statutory agencies, had deviated from the spirit of consultation ???with regrettable consequences???, she however noted that there was a positive side, which has shown ???the tried and tested mechanism of true consultation is the best way???.

Dr. Byer Suckoo further stressed that social dialogue provided an avenue through which parties could voice their concerns with each other. ???Parties can listen to each other???s points of view and grievances can be solved in an amicable manner, diminishing the prospect of disruptive and costly industrial action that can not only harm all parties, but the wider economy,??? the Senator emphasised.

She made a plea for all employers to follow this protocol as a means of mutual respect, maturity, trust, understanding and cooperation.?????I call on all employers to recommit to this proven principle of consultation first, not after threat of industrial action. Not only where the ERA says redundancies of 10 per cent or a significant number, but whenever you are making a significant change in your operation. Talk to your staff and their representatives,??? she urged.

The series of ILO national bipartite workshops will conclude over the coming weeks in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.

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