Strong bonds amongst the social partners at this juncture “are critical” for Barbados’ social and economic success and that of future Barbadians.
This view was expressed today by Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, as she addressed the 2013 May Day Launch at the Barbados Workers’ Union, Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St. Michael.
Byer Suckoo said she was encouraged by the theme of this year’s celebrations, Strengthening the Bonds, because through those ties, “we are protecting ourselves … against the external shocks of the outside world”.
She pointed out that the global financial crisis had made it almost impossible to maintain employment numbers across the world and it was eroding economies to the extent that unemployment rates had reached record levels. She argued that the scourge of unemployment and its associated economic factors had been observed throughout the world, in both developing and developed countries.
The added: “In Barbados, while economic growth has been sluggish, the Government has unfalteringly sought to ensure that people remain employed in the public sector and by so doing, reduce the incidence of job losses within the private sector.
“Amidst the crisis, and while unemployment has increased to 12 per cent, the merging of a collective will within the Social Partnership grouping has allowed us to maintain our reputation as a country with a stable political, social and economic environment. In more recent times, the strong tripartite relationship between labour, capital and the state has allowed Barbados to continue to at least hold its own against the severe effects of the global recession.”
Byer Suckoo expressed the view that Barbados’ ability to stand fast during this harsh economic environment was due to the recognition that labour was one of the most fundamental elements in the economic development of any country.
“Government is fully conscious of the need for comprehensive and well-structured mechanisms to exist if we are to continually develop our labour force and our labour arrangements in general. The Government is also aware that we cannot achieve our mandate alone,” she stressed.
She commended the contribution of trade unions to the socio-economic development of the Caribbean, stating that those in Barbados were working feverishly and fearlessly to protect the rights of workers.