ILO delivers productivity measurement programme in Barbados

Workshop on the ILO's System for the Measurement and Improvement of Productivity - SYMAPRO

News | 07 December 2010
"Improving productivity should not be seen as an end in itself, but as a means of improving workers' lives, the sustainability of enterprises, social cohesion and economic development," said Dr. the Honourable Esther Byer Suckoo, Minister of Labour, Barbados, at the opening of an International Labour Organization productivity improvement workshop on 23 November 2010 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Bridgetown.

"It is affected by factors at the individual level, for example, health, education and training; by factors at the enterprise level such as management, investment in plant and equipment and occupational safety and health and by factors at the national level such as supportive national policies, economic strategies, policies to maintain a sustainable business environment and investments in education," Minister added.

Minister Byer Suckoo was addressing representatives of the private and public sectors at a workshop on the ILO's System for the Measurement and Improvement of Productivity - SYMAPRO, which was being introduced to the Caribbean region for the first time.

The Workshop was a collaborative initiative involving the Ministry of Labour, Barbados, the ILO's Inter-American Centre for Knowledge Development in Vocational Training (ILO-CINTERFOR) and the ILO's Office for the Caribbean.

In her address to participants via video, Mrs. Martha Pacheco, Director of ILO-CINTERFOR, pledged her institution's support and collaboration in providing employers and workers with tools for improving their skills, working conditions and productivity.

Productivity and competitiveness are areas included in the Government's Medium-Term Development Strategy for 2010-2014 - a plan to guide the country as it emerges from the global recession. Productivity improvement has also been identified as one of the priorities in the development of the Decent Work Country Programme for Barbados.

The Minister outlined initiatives being undertaken by the Government to improve productivity and competitiveness, with the National Productivity Council playing a leading role. She also mentioned the Barbados Competitiveness Programme which was developed through collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank.

"Improving productivity is an area that we need to tackle collectively and the Government's thrust will be to work in partnership with the employers and employees to achieve this objective," said the Minister.

Participants at the workshop welcomed the ILO's SYMAPRO training programme and expressed an interest in applying the methodology in Barbados. SYMAPRO is based on systematic measurements of productivity improvements using indicators that capture the objectives of an organization. The programme concentrates on training under the umbrella of the ILO’s Programme for the Promotion of Management and Labour Cooperation (PROMALCO) which was implemented in the Caribbean region from 2001-2005 and has laid the foundation for addressing productivity improvement through social dialogue.

The Workshop, held from 22-26 November 2010, was facilitated by Leonard Mertens, Productivity Expert, based in the ILO's Office in Mexico, Silvia Sarazola, SYMAPRO Focal Point based at the ILO-CINTERFOR, Uruguay, and Felicity Richards, Enterprise Development Consultant.