Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo (FP)

Barbados’ strong social partnership is one of the reasons that this island has maintained its reputation as a country with a stable political, social and economic environment, despite a moderate increase in the nation’s unemployment figures.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, made this assertion yesterday as she delivered the opening remarks at the 37th Sir Winston Scott Memorial Lecture, which took place at the Frank Collymore Hall.

??"…The strong tripartite relationship amongst labour, capital and government has allowed Barbados to continue to at least hold our own against the severe effects of the global recession," Dr. Byer Suckoo said.

Stating that the collaborative efforts of the tripartite group have already "borne fruit", she noted that legislative reform was one of the areas in which progress was made.

"Most of you would be aware by now, of the passing of the Employment Rights Act in Parliament in May this year, and as soon as the Employment Rights Tribunal is approved by Cabinet, the Act will be proclaimed.?? This will provide for the rights of workers and speaks to unfair dismissal.

"The Safety and Health at Work Act will be proclaimed by January.?? We are also working on a new Shops Act which will, among other things, allow for extended opening hours. The new Holidays with Pay Bill is before Parliament.?? And we are reviewing draft legislation on anti-discrimination in the workplace and sexual harassment in the workplace," the Labour Minister outlined.??

Acknowledging that while legislation "does not in itself improve the number of jobs", she stressed that legislative reform addressed the quality of work.

Further noting that the social partnership and decent work were built on the four pillars of the International Labour Organisation’s Decent Work Agenda, she pointed out the pillars were: respect for rights; employment creation; social protection and social dialogue.

Dr. Byer Suckoo added that the island’s National Employment Policy was proposed and supported by the Social Partnership.?? The policy, which is currently before Parliament, includes government’s focus and plans to protect and create employment, support entrepreneurship, enhance employability and reduce poverty.??


Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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