ILO Director-General and Caribbean labour and employer groups discuss social dialogue

Both groups have also lobbied for the establishment of a Labour Unit at the CARICOM Secretariat to monitor and initiate action on the tripartite process.

News | 02 July 2013
PORT OF SPAIN (ILO News) - The leaders of the Caribbean’s umbrella labour and employers’ organizations have emerged from successive meetings with the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Guy Ryder, buoyed by his strong position on the fostering of social dialogue.

The meetings took place on the margins of the 8th ILO Caribbean Labour Ministers Meeting in Port of Spain.

Following a breakfast meeting hosted by the Director-General for heads of delegation, the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) and Caribbean Employers Confederation (CEC) on July 3, the CCL head, Senator David Massiah said he was “extremely happy” with what he had heard.

The two organizations met bilaterally with the ILO head on July 2 and then jointly on July 3. They have both expressed confidence in the process of social dialogue, which is a key pillar of the Decent Work programme of the ILO.

Senator Massiah said his organization was fully committed to the tripartite process and was interested in “playing a more meaningful role in the development of the Caribbean.” He added that meeting with the ILO Director-General had strengthened his resolve on the issue.

President of the CEC, Wayne Chen, said “the tripartite approach has proven itself in many areas within the region and internationally,” and that it has now become the globally accepted consensus “for policy sustainability and to keep important issues on the agenda, even as governments come and go,” he said.

The two groups raised the issue of greater inclusion in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) summits process and have called on Caribbean Labour Ministers to lobby for their inclusion as partners in discussions on the development of the region.

Both bodies have also lobbied for the establishment of a Labour Unit at the CARICOM Secretariat to monitor and initiate action on the tripartite process.

Ryder said he hoped “the voices of labour and of business at the regional level could find a place in the activities of CARICOM.”

“I think they would like to take a more prominent and constructive role,” he said.

The ILO Head said in his discussions with Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Labour Minister, Hon. Errol McLeod, “I found strong support for social dialogue and the recognition that social dialogue is not always an easy process and there are bumps in the road to social dialogue.”

“There is a genuine desire to stick the cause when it comes to social dialogue,” Ryder said.

“I am encouraged that whilst we have major challenges ahead … and we do have major challenges ahead in the Caribbean … (the region) has many assets - its skilled people, its vocation for social dialogue and its natural resources,” he added.

Both the CCL and CEC are hoping to become re-engaged in the consultative process during annual summits of the regional grouping.

The Meeting of Labour Ministers came as regional leaders assembled for the 34th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM.