Local employers have been told that they need to adjust their business models in order to remain competitive.
Speaking during the launch of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation’s (BEC) latest publication,
BEC Executive Director Sheena Mayers-Granville suggested that there was need for greater national discussion on the suggested move towards a “24/7” economy, which she said would allow local businesses to compete with remote firms that have reduced fixed costs and bolstered mobility.
The BEC spokeswoman also said such a discussion must take into consideration the need for flexible business hours for the provision of domestic services.
“In this discussion we must also recognize that ensuring there is a social safety net will necessitate the active participation of workers now more than ever, and cannot be limited to employers only. Long term planning becomes critical not only in areas of social protection, such as maternity or sickness benefits, but of course in areas such as personal retirement planning,” she said.
The BEC boss also suggested that Government and the trade unions had a key role to play in ensuring that the necessary legislative and operating environment exists for fostering such flexibility and that there were no deterrents to doing business.
“We cannot be afraid if the employment looks different from the way it did ten, 20 or 30 years ago,” she said, while acknowledging that some workers would be more vulnerable as a result of the paradigm shift.
However, she said the BEC was keen to facilitate robust discussion on the pertinent concerns which may exist with a view to building consensus and finding solutions.
The employers’ spokeswoman also said the umbrella body stood ready to guide its members towards a
system of best practice as the changeover occurs to an
around-the-clock system of operation.
“Fortunately for us if other persons have done it before, we do not have to reinvent the wheel. We can learn from their mistakes and tweak theirs to suit our environment,” she said.