Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo Thursday sounded a strong warning that while Barbados remains open to foreign investment, this country’s labour laws must be respected.
Addressing the official opening of a two-day workshop for multi-national enterprises at the Accra Beach Hotel, the Government spokeswoman said while such investors play a pivotal role in this country’s national development, they must be attentive to domestic labour practices and procedures.
“I would urge new players in this market to take the time to familiarize themselves with all of the relevant statutes, particularly the Health and Safety Act, the Employment Rights Act, the Town Planning Regulations pertaining to health, sanitation and social security legislation,” she told participants in the workshop, jointly organized by the International Labour Organisation and the Barbados Employers Confederation.
Byer-Suckoo emphasized that while her ministry welcomed the continued development of the country’s tourism industry, it had taken the necessary steps to establish a technical committee to develop protocols to address the conditions that are to be adhered to in the employment of local and migrant workers on job sites.
Byer-Suckoo pointed out that long before there was a decent work agenda in place, it had been a part of the Barbadian society. She therefore reminded investors that much of the country’s interaction with unions has been volunteeristic, as she invited participants from multinational enterprises to review Protocol V1 of the Social Partnership between Government, employment and labour.
In a brief presentation, General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union Toni Moore also acknowledged that multinational enterprises contribute substantially to the achievement of Barbados’ national priorities, but warned that her union would do its utmost to ensure that labour was not be treated as a mere commodity.