Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo????

Government is committed to preserving workers’ rights as outlined in the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Decent Work concept.

Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, made this promise recently, while addressing the Kraft Foods launch, at the Concorde Experience, Seawell, Christ Church.

Underscoring that workers’ rights must be respected, she alluded to four principles – the creation of the fundamental principles and rights at work; the creation of greater opportunities for women and men to secure decent employment; the enhancement of social protection and the strengthening of tripartism through social dialogue, as the essential pillars to effect this.

Dr. Byer Suckoo added: "The Ministry of Labour continues to work with its partners in the employers’ and labour unions to achieve this objective and to ensure that there is a buy-in from all. So, we are continuing our efforts towards improvements in the labour standards in this country and one such way, is through the Ministry’s legislative programme. These changes are being done with the full support of the partners in the tripartite arrangement."

The Labour Minister also disclosed government’s efforts at achieving enhanced labour standards that would see: the enactment of an Employment Rights Bill to protect the rights of the employer and the employee; amending the Holidays with Pay Act to clarify the process of calculating employees’ annual holiday and the addendum to the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Council Act, to allow for the award of the National Vocational Qualification to persons who have qualified. This would enable Barbadian workers to travel and work freely throughout the region, under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.

Plans are also in train Dr. Byer Suckoo said, to repeal the Trade Union Act, with the Trade Union and Employers Registration Status and Recognition Act, to give effect to the Constitution of Barbados, as it relates to Freedom of Association and Conventions Nos. 87 and 90 of the ILO’s Freedom of Association and the Right to Organise and to Collective Bargaining, respectively.

She maintained that the island’s, and by extension the region’s employment and social issues, must be addressed, as they were central to the recovery and reconstruction of the economy. jwilson@barbados.gov.bb

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