Regional Ministers of Labour have been urged to agitate for labour and employment issues to be on the agenda of the next CARICOM Heads of Government meeting.
Officer-in-Charge of the International Labour Organisation in Trinidad, Dr. Giovanni di Cola, made this appeal during a courtesy call with Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, yesterday at the Ministry’s office in Warrens, St. Michael.
The ILO official praised Barbados’ social partnership mechanism saying that “it worked very well”, but called for greater social dialogue to take place regionally.
Citing that “full and productive employment and decent work for all” was one of the targets to eradicate hunger and poverty under the Millennium Development Goals, di Cola emphasised that the MDGs were a “top-down approach” and consequently, greater tripartite discussion was needed on the topic of labour.
He also stated that youth employment was another critical component for discussion, adding that development also took place through jobs – a path out of poverty.
In acknowledging his remarks, the minister assured the ILO official that regional ministers of labour have asked for greater discussion on the topic, and further called for the “reactivation of the labour desk at CARICOM”.
Stating that the region could not afford to ignore labour issues, Byer Suckoo stressed: “This is not the time for CARICOM to drop the ball on jobs, especially youth jobs. All ministers regionally are dealing with similar issues [although] we may be tackling them in different ways.”
Reasoning that the “main thing was to have a labour desk”, she agreed that tripartite action among employers, worker representatives and governments at the CARICOM level was a vital mechanism for moving forward.