The Bahamas hosted The 9th International Labour Organization (ILO) Meeting of Caribbean Labour Ministers under the theme, "Decent Work for Sustainable Development," March 3-4, 2015 at the British Colonial Hilton. Pictured front row amongst Ministers of Labour are: ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder; Minister of Labour and National Insurance, the Hon. Shane Gibson; CCL President, David Massiah; CEC President, Wayne Chen; and Giovanni di Cola, Director of the ILO Office for the Caribbean.
(BIS Photo/Raymond Bethel)
Labour Ministers Commit to Strengthening Social Dialogue, While Focusing on
Youth Employment and Greening of the Economy
9th International Labour Organization (ILO) Meeting of Caribbean Labour
Ministers concluded on March 4, 2015 with a commitment to strengthen social
dialogue both at the national and regional levels, and with renewed impetus
find creative solutions to the problem of youth unemployment and the greening
of the economy.
meeting, held in Nassau, The Bahamas and themed "Decent Work for
Sustainable Development," was attended by 21 delegations headed by 14
ministers with responsibility for labour issues.
and other representatives of the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) and
Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC) were also present, along with
representatives from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Association of
Caribbean States (ACS), and UN Agencies (ECLAC, UNESCO,PAHO/WHO and UN RC
Office Jamaica), as well as the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre
Director-General, Guy Ryder, attended the summit and held bilateral meetings
with the Prime Minister of The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, the Rt. Hon. Perry
Christie, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Her Excellency
Dame Marguerite Pindling; Minister of Labour and National Insurance, the Hon.
Shane Gibson; CCL President, David Massiah; and CEC President, Wayne Chen.
the presence of the ILO Director-General and of the members of the National
Tripartite Council, the National Tripartite Bill was enacted by Her Excellency
Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of The
Bahamas. The ILO provided technical comments to the draft Bill, which was
adopted the House.
Labour Ministers at the Meeting called for the systemic institutionalization of
national social dialogue processes and culture which embrace policy areas, and
they agreed to support the capacity of social partners to ensure that their
interventions to tripartite forums and consultations will add substantive value
to the processes.
the impact of climate change on the world of work, the Ministers called for
long-term policy development, so that countries are sufficiently resilient to
meet the related challenges. It was agreed that new business
opportunities, as well as education and skills-training policies, would be
implemented in response to the anticipated impact of climate on the workers.
Ministers called for closer collaboration between the ILO and CARICOM,
particularly on youth employment, technical, vocational education and training
(TVET), labour market information systems and environmental sustainability.
Ministers concluded that those countries not yet signatory to the Regional
"Free of Child Labour” initiative, should be provided with information to
consider becoming a party to it.
his remarks, at the opening ceremony, the Hon. Shane Gibson, Minister of Labour
and National Insurance, The Bahamas, stated that his country "remains
committed to being an active member of the Regional Initiative to eliminate
Child Labour and the Worst Forms of Child Labour around the world. As a
Caribbean Community, we must continue to unite to end Child Labour as it
deprives children the world over of their childhood, and is harmful to their
the Meeting, the ILO officially informed the Ministers of Labour about a new
regional project with CEC and CCL, with funding from the European Union (EU),
aimed at strengthening the capacity of workers’ and employers’ organizations in
the framework of the Economic Partnership Agreement.
examined the state of youth unemployment in the Caribbean region, together with
public and private partners and institutions such as the Government of the
Republic of China, Canada, Republic Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, and the
this session, it was proposed that anticipating skills requirements could
contribute to reducing skills mismatches. It was also suggested that colleges
and training institutions work closely with social partners in developing
work-based learning opportunities, beyond apprenticeships and internship
programmes and closer to labour market demand. The session highlighted the need
for strong corporate social responsibilities to link youth to the world of
work. Regional certification to ensure consistency of qualifications and
opportunities for free movement of youth, by developing fair and sound
immigration policies, were also discussed.
Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General emphasized the importance of reducing carbon
emissions for sustainable economic growth, generating new jobs and skills.
With sessions led by representatives from the Caribbean Community Climate
Change Centre (CCCCC) in Belize, and the ILO Green Jobs Programme in Geneva,
climate change and its impact on the work place was discussed.
higher temperatures, rises in sea level, and increased hurricane intensity
threatening lives, property and livelihoods throughout the region, the need for
increased technical and financial support for the development of renewable
energy in the Caribbean was raised.
Ryder stated that the Caribbean has strong traditions of tripartite social
dialogue, and mentioned the good practices and innovative solutions which the
Caribbean countries are able to implement and share.
closing the 9th ILO Meeting of the Caribbean Ministers of Labour, Mr di Cola,
Director of the ILO Office for the Caribbean, stated that the Caribbean Meeting
of Ministers of Labour has created a community of interest and a community of
leaders, with full participation of all territories covered by the Office and
consistent participation of partners such as CEC and CCL, and the CARICOM Secretariat.
ILO Office for the Caribbean was established in 1969 and is based in Trinidad
and Tobago. It serves 13 member States and 9 non-metropolitan territories of
the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean as follows:
States: Antigua and Barbuda; The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada,
Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the
Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago
territories: Anguilla, Aruba, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands,
Curacao, Montserrat, St. Maarten, Turks and Caicos Islands.