Esther Byer-Suckoo, Minister of Labour and Sir Roy Trotman (left), Vice-Chairperson, ILO Governing Body, greets Elizabeth Tinoco-Avevedo, Regional Director, ILO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean and Marcel Meyer, President, Caribbean Employer’s Confederation (far right), at the??Opening Ceremony of the??Tripartite Caribbean Symposium today at the Hilton Hotel, St. Michael.

The Government of Barbados is expected to launch the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Decent Work Country Programme within the next three months.

This disclosure was made today by Minister of Labour Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, while speaking at the opening ceremony of a Tripartite Caribbean Symposium entitled Tripartism and Social Dialogue: Comparative Experiences in Dealing with Economic and Social Development Issues, at the Hilton Barbados.

Pointing out that the projected launch for the initiative was by August of this year, the Minister explained that the objectives of the decent work agenda included the promotion of rights at work, enhancement of social protection, encouragement of sustainable employment opportunities and strengthening of social dialogue.?? "This important agenda constitutes an essential part of the strategic framework within which the national development of all our countries can be successfully carried out," she added.

Dr. Byer Suckoo also spoke to the development of the Social Partnership in Barbados, which she called a success story arising from the economic crisis of the early 1990s. "In 1993 three distinct groups – Government, Employers’ Representatives and Trade Union Representatives-signed the Protocol for the implementation of a Prices and Incomes Policy for the period 1993 to 1995. This event heralded the birth of the Social Partnership.

Since 1995 the Social Partners have signed five additional Protocols, each one building on the other, with the sixth Protocol having been signed on Labour Day – a mere two weeks ago…", the Minister stated.

This collaboration, according to her, led to the development of a special working group on the economy in 2008, which crafted a short and medium-term action plan to address the global economic crisis.?? Dr. Byer Suckoo added that the policy, which included a modest stimulus package focusing on social and environmental programmes, had led to a more comprehensive medium-term development strategy for Barbados for 2010 to 2014.

The Labour Minister, advised however, that Barbados was not resting on its laurels, but was looking forward to discussions over the next two days to draw from the experiences of other countries in its quest to strengthen the Social Partnership.

The Symposium ends tomorrow, Wednesday, May 18, and is expected to provide an opportunity for government, employer and trade union representatives of 21 Caribbean countries and non-metropolitan territories to discuss the role, dimensions and best practices of social dialogue and social partnerships.??

To this end, four panel discussions will focus on the following topics: Social dialogue and social partnership as a means to advance national economic and social development; The role of social dialogue in improving workplace productivity; Taking advantage of tripartism and social dialogue to support regional integration and enhance its benefits and Maximizing social and labour benefits of external trade and investment agreements through social dialogue.?? (KRM/BGIS)


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