Work is going full steam ahead on the development of Protocol VI, says Chair of the Sub Committee of the Social Partners and Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo.

After a recent meeting of the Sub Committee of the Social Partners, Dr. Byer Suckoo pointed out that a small working group had been set up and the members were receiving suggestions so a new protocol could be drafted.

"We want a document that the other stakeholders have seen, fully expressed their views on and have endorsed, so we can get the buy-in of all Barbadians when we sign it," she stated.

According to her, the partnership had made a commitment earlier this year to have the Protocol in place on May Day 2011, since Protocol V had expired in 2007, but was extended every year since then.

During the Sub Committee meeting, feedback was given on the 2010 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals. Dr. Byer Suckoo indicated that the members were not dissatisfied with the Budget, but felt it was a responsible one in light of the current economic situation.

"The concerns were about ironing out the kinks as we look to implement some of the measures that were articulated in the Budget …," she explained.

Additionally, the Sub Committee was given an update on the status of new legislation which is to come on stream in Barbados and the National Initiative for Service Excellence (NISE) also made a presentation on the results of its Customer Satisfaction Index for the finance and public sectors.

The Minister underscored the need for the NISE survey, stressing that productivity and competitiveness were important areas to the island.

Dr. Byer Suckoo said the social partners – government, trade unions and business – meet monthly in an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation. "We have the same goal to see Barbados work better and when we come to the table, we sit as equals and fully ventilate all the issues.

"I think we have really been having good meetings … I think we have been making a lot of progress and addressed some major issues, some of them sensitive," she asserted.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart will meet with the full social partnership early next year.

Those attending the meeting included representatives of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados, the Barbados Private Sector Association and senior government officials.??

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