ILO specialist applauds government for reforming labour laws
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The International Labour Organization (ILO) has applauded the government of St. Kitts and Nevis for its pursuit of comprehensive reforms to maintain and strengthen harmonious relations in the labour marketplace.
At the opening of a three-day Labour Inspection Training Workshop May 23, Rainer Pritzer, senior specialist in labour administration and social dialogue with the International Labour Organization (ILO) Decent Work Team in the Office for the Caribbean, noted that during the past three years the government has being quite proactive in strengthening labour administration policies.
To reinforce the point, he noted that the services of the ILO have been engaged in a number of areas by St. Kitts and Nevis, including labour law reform, the labour administration system, employment services, labour inspection and occupational safety and health.
“It seems like we have embarked on a comprehensive programme in St. Kitts and Nevis,” Pritzer said. “That is good news. That is particularly good news since it demonstrates that the government, and I wish to stress in particular with the support and the push of the honourable Minister [of Labour, Honourable Vance Amory], that the whole government is moving toward increasing and enhancing social justice in St. Kitts and Nevis and decent work for all.”
The strong support and active involvement of Senior Minister Amory in the reform agenda were commended by the ILO specialist, who noted that while his organization assists many member states with various projects and programmes, “not in all countries do we get the same level of support from the minister as we are witnessing here in St. Kitts and Nevis.”
Increasing the size of the staff at the Department of Labour, multiplying training opportunities, and purchasing a vehicle to allow labour inspectors to travel to various worksites were among the top goals set by the minister that have been achieved. Hiring more people has allowed the department to expand its presence in work environments across St. Kitts, and to reduce the waiting time in addressing complaints filed by various workers and mediation by officials.
“There is always room for improvement, in every country, everywhere, on all topics, but St. Kitts and Nevis is actually taking its responsibility and congratulations on that,” Pritzer said, adding that the ILO will continue to support the reforms being pushed by government as it brings the labour laws in line with international standards.