Minister of Labour Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo receiving a petition on Decent Work for Domestic Workers from Senior Assistant General Manager at the BWU Toni Moore. (A. Miller/BGIS)

As Barbadians celebrated the centenary of International Women’s Day yesterday, Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, reminded females, and specifically domestic workers, that the Government of Barbados was actively working on their behalf.

She was speaking at a Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) event under the theme Equal Access to Education, Training and Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent Work for Women. It began with a walk through Bridgetown from the BWU’s headquarters in Harmony Hall, St. Michael and culminated in Heroes Square, the City.??

"Domestic workers have support in Government, and through the Employment Rights Bill, we plan to bring some security to their working life," Dr. Byer Suckoo said. She pointed out that the legislation conferred rights on these employees, which allowed them to have a statement of conditions of work and to be given adequate notice before their services were terminated.

Addressing the rights of all women, the Labour Minister said that her Ministry was also working on the development of sexual harassment legislation. "If women are to succeed in the workplace we have to address sexual harassment.?? It’s a contentious issue, but I intend to address it … because women cannot operate in a workplace where they feel that their rights and dignity are affected," she contended.

In commending generations of female workers who have toiled to give women the many advantages that they have today, Dr. Byer Suckoo further urged females to "go beyond their wildest imagination", by breaking out of the traditional moulds that they have been cast in and further redefine their role in the household, society and Barbados.??

She added that these stressful economic times provided the opportunity for them to tap into the creativity and ingenuity which would have assisted generations of women before.?? "Show that creativity, break out of any boxes you have been put into, go past any glass ceilings that have been set for you," she advised.

The Minister received a petition from the BWU on decent work for domestic workers as part of the proceedings and pledged to support recommendations coming out of the upcoming International Labour Organisation.??

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