BASSETERRE, St. Kitts –- Caribbean nations need greater social dialogue in decision-making, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Labour, the Honourable Vance Amory, suggested to officials attending a one-day tripartite meeting convened under the theme: “Selected Key Topics for the Future of Work in the Caribbean.”
The Panama meeting brought together ministers of labour and social partners from the 13-member states under the International Labour Organization (ILO) Office for the Caribbean. It facilitated discussions by the ministers and other officials from government with representatives of employers and workers throughout the region on the implications of key aspects to the future of work, given the specific realities and commonalities of the Caribbean.
The meeting also explored opportunities and options for ILO constituents to deliberate on policy issues and practices to advance the Decent Work Agenda in the Caribbean in the context of an ever evolving world of work.
Amory served on a panel entitled “Social Dialogue in the Region; How to Sustain the Achievements of the European Union/Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Project.” He highlighted the role of regional social dialogue in shaping the Future of Work in the Caribbean and reminded the meeting of the agreement to have social partners present at various CARICOM meetings to propose a way forward in strengthening social dialogue at the national and regional levels, and to define the role of governments and the CARICOM Secretariat in this regard.
Amory cited the successful good governance agenda model used in St. Kitts and Nevis to reinforce the need for an open and broad consultative process. These range from one-on-one consultations, town hall meetings and large stakeholder conferences.
“At the national level, the prime minister often engages in discussions on matters of crime, economic policy [and others] with social partners,” Amory said, noting that this is key to the working of the government. “I believe it is one of those matters which we need to see as so important because were we to deny or not to accept it, it could be detrimental for us in the region, so I really want to support the call for social dialogue to be an integral part of what we do in the region.”
Senior Minister Amory was supported at the meeting by Ron Dublin-Collins, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour; Shernel James, Commissioner of the Labour Department; Brenda John, Executive Director of the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce; and Joseph O’Flaherty, President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Trades and Labour Union.
Delegates at the meeting reviewed the results of a three-year EU project that targeted employers’ and workers’ organizations across the Caribbean towards strengthening their outreach to contribute to national and regional discussions on economic and social affairs. They examined the findings from the external evaluation of the project; and discussed relevant steps to make this development sustainable, for the benefit of the Caribbean.