Dominica joins OECS countries on decent work programme
It's the last Eastern Caribbean country to put together a Decent Work Country Programme.
ROSEAU, Dominica, Thursday March 10, 2011 – Representatives of government agencies, the employer’s federation and trade unions have begun work on putting together a Decent Work Country Programme for Dominica with the assistance of a team of officials from the international labour organisation (ILO).
Dominica is the last of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) countries to embark on such a programme.
And in moving forward with the implementation of this programme a workshop was hosted this week – an event that Labour Commissioner Matthew LeBlanc said was timely.
“It is a very important venture and this is something that is taking place throughout the region. Most of the CARICOM countries are already on board. We are now doing this workshop to develop a Country Work Programme which will provide guidelines and recommendations,” he said.
“We will identify priority areas where we need to review and make recommendations to Government for certain legislative amendments and identify new areas where we can all work with one common objective; that is, enabling the correct environment for the creation of employment, the protection of the workers’ rights at work, to strengthen social protection and to promote social dialogue. This is extremely important for us for industrial relations in Dominica, not only for the dignity of man but for the stability of the family and for economic and social development. It is absolutely important.”
The decent work programme agenda has received worldwide support as a developmental tool to achieve social justice and economic progress.
Director of the Caribbean ILO office based in Trinidad, Dr. Ana Theresa Romero, said the decent work agenda has four overarching priorities which were selected by the constituents of the OECS region.
These priorities include creating jobs, guaranteeing rights at work, extending social protection and promoting social dialogue.
“The first has to do with the review and the updating of national labour laws. You may have pieces of legislation that have been on the books for quite some time. The labour market situation has changed and if you need to bring these into line with international labour standards and CARICOM model laws, then through this process, we will identify which pieces of legislation require revision and updating. ILO will provide technical advice and support for carrying this out,” she explained.
“The second area has to do with strengthening the labour market information system. This is to enable employers as well as workers and certainly the Government to know where you have a demand for certain types of skills, certain types of expertise and skills so that when one is doing planning whether it is for training or entering into a business or for attracting foreign investment, you will have an idea of the kind of skill sets that you need and where in the labour market one will be able to access some of these resources.”
The third area has to do with finding the appropriate work place responses for dealing with HIV and AIDS.
“That has to do with the use of the workplace as an entry point for reaching people with the message with respect to prevention, core support and most importantly, avoiding stigma and discrimination against persons based on real or perceived ideas that they may have HIV,” Dr. Romero explained.
The fourth area will deal with strengthening the capacity of the labour ministry and workers to ensure that workers can engage in meaningful dialogue on economic and social issues.
Dr. Romero says those four areas are not unique to Dominica but will be adopted by all OECS member territories.
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